The Irrefutable Truth About 
Demons

The Irrefutable Truth About Demons

***

Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

This contemporary update of the likes of Night of the Demon stars Karl Urban as anthropologist Harry Ballard. A professional sceptic, Harry scoffs at the dire warnings issued by an Anton Lavey lookalike on a video that arrives at his office. Then he's mugged by some weirdos and thrown into a cell. He escapes and calls the cops. Trouble is, they find traces of dope in his blood and he's forced to admit to having had a joint earlier that evening...

Back home and trying to relax in the bath, Harry is attacked by the cultists. Then he wakes up. Then he finds his girlfriend Celia has been murdered. If this wasn't enough, someone has daubed "I killed her because she's a demon. Harry Ballard" on the wall in her blood. With the cops knocking at the door, Harry understandably flees.

Copy picture

Hiding out at a sleazy hotel, Harry calls on his protege Johnny for help. Unfortunately Johnny is killed by a demon. Just when it seems like the game's up for Harry, Bobby - a young woman who used to be a member of the cult - arrives to rescue him and teach him "the irrefutable truth about demons".

This New Zealand shocker keeps you guessing. One moment you think you have a handle on what's going on, the next your assumptions have been effectively undermined as the plot takes another twist.

Of course, this approach also allows the film-makers to have their cake and eat it - those CGI demons and organ removals are as real as you want them to be.

One downside of such explicitness, however, is that there's plainly not been much money left for the rest of the production. The cultists and Bobby look stupid more than anything else, detracting from the film's effectiveness; while Urban deserves some kind of award for consenting to have cockroaches crawl all over his face. Mention must also be made of the score, which mixes industrial rhythms with eerie vocals to good effect.

By turns clever and dumb, The Irrefutable Truth About Demons finally betrays an indecision about whether it wanted to be a horror comedy or a serious film about belief and mental illness. Conviction to go one way or the other would have helped give it more substance.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Anthropologist falls foul of satanic cult.
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Keith Hennessey Brown ***

Director: Glenn Standring

Writer: Glenn Standring

Starring: Karl Urban, Katie Wolfe, Sally Stockwell, Tony MacIver, Neill Rea, Jonathon Hendry, Peter Daubé, Keelson Henderson, Mel Johnston, Perry Piercy

Year: 2000

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: New Zealand

Festivals:

EIFF 2000

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