Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Devil's Due

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Look for the G-rated follow up; Postage's Due.

Devil’s Due – 0 out of 5

Hollywood seems to really hate privileged white people. Every time there is a demon, ghoul, tortured soul or even the devil himself they always go towards the white people who have huge houses but are never seen working in order to pay for them—or, at least, that is the formula when the tired horror subgenre that is called “found footage” is being used as a cheap and easy method to make a movie and maximize the returns. Sure, it took five films for the Paranormal Activity franchise to finally acknowledge that supernatural monsters are capable of accepting that non-white people also have the right to be haunted but, for the most part, the world of horror feels like only bad things of the supernatural origin happen to whitey.  Or maybe Hollywood just hates acknowledging that non-white people exist?

Hmm...actually, seeing his mug I can kinda understand why evil wants to target him.

The lesson is, kids, if you get married your first born will
be a hell spawn.
Samantha (Allison Miller) and Zach (Zach Gilford) are newly weds and are on their honeymoon ready to spend the rest of their lives together. Zach likes to film everything (because of course he does) and during their pointless collection of poorly edited adventures on their vacation, they encounter a cab driver who brings them to a out-of-the-way bar and are rendered unconscious while horrible, spooky things are done to them. When they return, Samantha discovers that she is pregnant. During the course of the pregnancy, Zach realizes that something is wrong and begins to notice that Samantha is undergoing violent pains in her body, suffering from random nosebleeds and breaking out into random acts of extreme violence...what he doesn't see is the occasional act of telekinesis. Pretty soon it becomes clear they are being watched by a mysterious cult and Samantha has been impregnated with the Antichrist and it is exerting its power over her.  So, in essence, it's your basic normal pregnancy.

"I'll take you to the best bar that guarantees no demon babies...forget I said anything
about demon babies."

"I can feel the baby spewing hell fire!"
I’ve never looked too favorably on the “found footage” genre because so much of it comes off cheap. They hire unknown, unproven actors in order to sell the realism of the film but it ends up biting them in the ass as they cast really shitty, completely unconvincing actors. They’ve all but abandoned the concept that these films were “found” and put together (this film does this exponentially worse than others but I’ll get to that later) and, finally, the writing just comes off lazy as each and every one of these films start to blend together and all look the same. Here’s the formula: Person who has to film every aspect of their lives because of reasons suddenly finds themselves haunted/terrorized so they continue to film everything and what follows is at least a half an hour to forty-five minutes of pointless filler (that was mysteriously left in the final product by the editor who “found” the footage) and then about twenty minutes of weak scares that is accompanied by convenient film disruption, a refusal to ever drop the camera and flee, and the ability to keep major plot points completely in frame despite the monstrous shit hitting the clich├ęd fan. Devil’s Due somehow takes the genre that feels like it actively wants to avoid the nearly limitless amounts of creativity it has the potential for and wants to be even weaker and lazier than the weakest and laziest thing this subgenre has created.  But at least it clearly has goals!

The arresting officer was too old for that demon shit.

Like most “found footage” films, the acting is pretty bad.  Although, "bad" may be a little too harsh.  In Devil's Due, the acting is barely passable. Unlike most “ff” films, however, they don’t go the route of casting actors you’ve never seen before or will only see again in the film’s sequel but actually bring in people you may have seen some time previous, some you kinda recognize, and the guy who was, most recently, on Lost.

Of course Lost barely compares to his role of Mr. Gorpley on Perfect Strangers.

All part of a normal pregnancy, kids.
Never are the actors really that convincing or interesting to watch. Most of the time Allison Miller and Zach Gilford’s chemistry feels forced and they come off like people who secretly hate each other but are trying their best to overdo it so every thinks they are not on the verge of murder one another. Not to mention that neither is strong enough of an actor and the characters weren't written well enough that I ever found myself actually giving a shit about what they were going through. For example, the movie really wants you to know that the character of Samantha was adopted (the story will mention this rapid fire at least fifteen times in the first ten minutes) and the writers wanted you to know that she has always had a feeling of not belonging to a family but now, the day of her wedding, she gets to start her own and achieve that which she never had. You would think this would make her journey of being pregnant one that starts hopeful because she gets to give her child something she always wanted; stability, and you would think that the horrors of realizing that she may have a demon baby kicking her insides would result in a whirlwind of feelings including fear, lasting trauma, and even betrayal but it doesn’t result in anything. I never got a sense of Samantha’s ordeal other than seeing her get randomly slap happy with Zach and develop some mutant powers.

"Help!  She's pulling me away with her evil baby powers and, somehow, giving me
a wedgie at the same time!"

Well, at least you see what Zach is going through, right? Granted you see most of the ordeal that the couple is going through from the Dad-to-be but all you really get from him is a “WTF is going on?" When the film isn’t haphazardly jumping from random, pointless scene to the next scene that shows Samantha may have something evil growing inside of her, all you get is Zach wildly swinging his camera around (until the story decides to just randomly give up the plot point that he likes to film everything) and saying, “What is happening?” Meanwhile, not a single thing that resembles a scare is taking place.

About as much action as the Paris Hilton sex tape...but kinda sexier though.

This film offers up no tension, no chill-factor, and nothing remotely scary. Sure, like most “found footage” films, it tries to sneak in a bunch of quick and easy jump scares but more of them are so lazily thrown on the screen that there’s little-to-no surprise to them so they weren’t in the least effective for me. Not to mention when you have to contend with the fact the film has way too much random filler going on that when a scene that is suppose to be scary does show up I met it with the same boredom and disdain I had with the chaotic jumble that was the honeymoon footage.

I see the boredom of this movie made the blood vessels in your eyes burst, as well.

It's a guy behind the camera so, of course, this happens.
In fact, beyond the fact that this film wants to be Rosemary’s Baby for the selfie generation, the extremely shitty editing and use of camera work is the film’s killer. The directors’ (yes, believe it or not, it took two men to make this lazy, weak POS) and their bullshit excuse for the random behavior of the camera work is that the film is not suppose to be a typical “found footage” film but rather a narrative told through various cameras—sometimes it’s Zach filming everything and, when this plot point is decided to be abandoned for a change up, we see things from a security camera perspective. The problem with this is it doesn’t feel strategized and comes off as random. There will be sequences where what Zach is filming will be randomly interrupted with a security camera shot and this CCV sequence will last half a second. It looks and feels like a hiccup and gives an amateurish feel to the entire story and makes the production look like they gave the editing duties to a man they just pulled off the street.

These show up for split seconds before cutting away.  It's like the directors were over
the editor's shoulder high on cocaine yelling, "CUT THAT!  NEW SCENE!  MORE COCAINE!"

Devil’s Due is just a weak, weak film that offers up nothing new to an already tired and worn out genre and, even though it tries to act like an homage to a far superior horror film that actually offers up intrigue and scares, the film just comes off like a cheap rip-off. While the film may have won some points for some decent, realistic looking effects, the film can’t hold on to them due to the sub-par acting, uninteresting characters, and a story that feels too familiar to NOT be a remake.

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