Josh Lobo (director)
24 August 2019 (released)
06 September 2019
The title (sort of) gives things away but this is still one creepy film that holds the tension well and ratchets up confusion and disquiet very nicely, up to the end.
Married couple Matt (AJ Bowen) and Karen (Susan Burke) turn up to visit Matt’s brother Steve (Scott Poythress) for Christmas. Clearly agitated Steve doesn’t want them there and over a frustrating meal, the tensions become obvious. Strange phone calls, asking whether Matt was followed only add to the frustrations until eventually Steve cracks and says he has the Devil trapped in his cellar behind a door.
Further investigation confirms that there is someone in the cellar behind a multi-locked door (the person within claims to have been captured) but Matt is not convinced it’s the devil. Not wanting however to unnerve Steve any more than he already is he plays along, Karen, more direct, thinks he is mad, to start with.
As can be expected from the prince of lies is a series of conversations and taunts with the various characters, manipulating them as fit. The ‘devil’ doesn’t have it all its own way and gets flustered at times and this makes for an intriguing watch, as they play each other.
It’s no secret that the door will open but there’s plenty of enticement to carry on watching to see what will come out. The characters play out fear and paranoia as they are engulfed by the entity, and control starts to shift from one to the other, or does it.
The use of white-noise TV static and lights in the close setting of the house and cellar enhance an already dense atmosphere. It also benefits from an excellent electronic at times industrial score from Ben Lovett that fills a lot of space very effectively.
Contradictory as it may sound there’s a familiar dark comfiness about the whole set up though that doesn’t detract from the overall dankness of the film. That’s mainly down to tight work from director and writer Josh Lobo and solid performances from the entire cast.
UK Premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest out on digital HD 21 October 2019