Devil's Revenge

*1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Devil's Revenge
"Shatner is hilarious."

In his Modern Psychology, Carl Jung wrote on the cave as the gateway to the underworld in the collective unconscious and as a place that a man might seek out if he dreamed of seeking to retrieve the dead. It seems an appropriate place to begin this adventure - one so fancifully incoherent as to become dreamlike almost by accident. Its hero (Jason Brooks) isn't trying to bring back the dead - at least not at this point - but he is trying to save his father from a deadly curse. Emerging from the darkness into the light having failed again to retrieve the necessary McGuffin, he appears as a mythic figure, doomed by his own virtuous intentions - and we already know that, in spite of everything, he will have to return to this abysmal place.

He will have to return because his father (William Shatner, chewing up the scenery and spitting it out with a mannered gusto that recalls his appearance in YouTube hit Shatner Of The Mount) won't have it any other way. One naturally assumes that he's sending his son because he's too old and infirm to go himself, but this proves not to be the case - he's simply a man prepared to sacrifice any and all family members in order to lift the curse, until he isn't. Again, the shifts in rationale here have a dreamlike quality. Kept on the sidelines until t's her turn to be in peril, the hero's wife (Jeri Ryan) makes a lot of anguished faces, whilst their two teenage children run around having odd conversations about God, apropos of nothing, making one wonder if some naive faith-based group has been squeezed into funding this.

There's a lot of running about, repetitive dialogue slotted in to make up the running time, and flashbacks to ancient peoples who seem to be conducting their rituals - in North America - in a subterranean space with walls constructed from bricks and cement mortar. There are also some exceptionally silly demons whose raison d'ĂȘtre seems to have been lifted wholesale from Game Of Thrones (though to be fair, other stories used it beforehand). They're so out of place that they look as if they were designed for a completely different film. Along with a fondness for hand to hand combat, they have some form of psychic power that causes our hero to suffer from hallucinations, though quite what they're trying to achieve by presenting him with the particular visions that they do remains obscure throughout.

With an ending that smacks of primary school first attempts at fiction, this has to go down as one of the year's silliest horror films. It's oddly endearing, however, perhaps due to the earnestness with which it's delivered. Shatner is hilarious and despite the obvious padding in places it's fairly well paced, making it easy to keep watching. It has an inoffensive quality that will make it a passable default option when nobody can agree on what to watch at the cinema or when everything else on television is actively obnoxious. You are, however, likely to enjoy it most if you're not fully awake.

Reviewed on: 27 Sep 2019
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Devil's Revenge packshot
An archaeologist is pressured by his father into going in search of an artefact which could be linked to a curse - and which has deadly guardians.

Director: Jared Cohn

Writer: Jared Cohn

Starring: Jason Brooks, Jeri Ryan, William Shatner, Robert Scott Wilson

Year: 2019

Runtime: 98 minutes

Country: US

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