Sometimes here at OC Movie Reviews, we’ll receive an email informing us we’ve been overly harsh on a film, usually that email is from the writer, director, producer or an actor.
They’ll say, “go easy”, or “it’s an indie film” and things like “of course we don’t have Disney budgets” or “well I wanted Tom Cruise but he wouldn’t do it” (I may have made that last one up).
Look, we get it, honestly, we do. We understand that indie films aren’t going to have the budgets of something from Disney, Netflix, Amazon etc. But that’s not an excuse to turn out a poor film.
Nearly all writers and directors start at the bottom, either with a short film or an indie, low budget flick. But some are stand-out and it’s those we look to when comparing. Think of Peter Jackson’s first film, Bad Taste, superb, made for around 200,000 New Zealand dollars.
What about Sean Spencer’s Panic that we reviewed right here on OC Movie Reviews, shot in just 18 days across London. That’s just two, but there are a plethora of writers, directors and actors whose humble beginnings are on the indie circuit.
They made fantastic movies, whether they’d made short films before-hand, or just dove headfirst into something long-form, they went for it and it paid off.
Sadly, that isn’t always the case and, even when you manage to scoop some decent quality in front of the camera, it doesn’t mean they will automatically elevate the film.
This brings me neatly onto Devil’s Revenge, the latest film from director Jared Cohen whose back catalogue includes “Little Dead Rotting Hood”, “Death Pool”, “Halloween Pussy Trap Kill Kill” and others. A lot of films have been for The Asylum, who you’ll know for making quick “copies” of forthcoming Hollywood releases, but who also brought us Sharknado.
His latest, Devil’s Revenge, reunites two absolute legends from the world of Star Trek: Ol’ Seven of Nine herself, Jeri Ryan, and none other than William Shatner, good ol’ Bill.
The story centre’s around a cursed family, of which Shatner is the head of, and his son’s, somewhat reluctant quest, to gather an artefact that’s behind the curse, and destroy it. The issue? Oh, just the small matter of the devil standing in his way.
The artefact is in a cave, but don’t worry, handily this is a very light cave as the sun streams in from all angles. That is until they need to run away, then for some reason they go deeper underground…I don’t know either.
The story is thin and light, the characters even more so. Ryan is the exasperated wife of Jason Brooks (“Star Trek”, “Days Of Our Lives (TV)”) who just looks exasperated all the time. Shatner, the father of Brooks, is massively intense and gloriously OTT.
I will say that Cohn handles the camera very well, there are some really nice touches here, equally, there are some awful continuity and shots that involve a car driving in daylight, but the rear window shows a night scene. On a different street.
As I said at the beginning, we here at OC Movie Reviews fully appreciate that a film made on a low budget isn’t going to be full of eye-popping CGI. But this film was made with some $1.5 million. That’s a lot of cash. But no amount of eerie music (and there is a lot) can save Devil’s Revenge. Fans of Shatner should watch for the OTT’ness, fans of Ryan should probably look elsewhere.