Let's get this out of the way: Anyone who takes the chance to write a script, find a crew, get funding, cast actors(this film has Bill Mosely and Bill Oberst Jr), and find a distributor - definitely deserves a round of applause. The movie industry isn't easy and anyone who makes a film should be given respect, regardless of how far the final product strays the initial creative intention. No one wants to make a bad movie. But the truth is, Jeff Broadstreet's Devil's Junction: Handy Dandy's Revenge is a bad movie...
...Directed by Broadstreet and written by J.S. Brinkley, Handy Dandy revolves around a group of youths who decide to party at a shuttered TV studio in Detroit, a studio haunted by a ventriloquist from a 1960s kid's show who is looking for a new audience, the more dead, the better!
This film attempts to do a lot of things without the direction or range required to do it. Handy Dandy feels aimless throughout its entire runtime. By the time the credits rolled, this reviewer was left with nothing to say.
One of the only things remotely interesting about this movie is that it takes place in and was filmed in Detroit, MI. It definitely tries to avoid the usual trope of using the city as a punching bag. Unfortunately, it eventually relies on cliches like shots of damaged buildings and the predictable uttering of "Its fucking Detroit,". The filmmakers do try to show some admiration for the city, even going as far as using a local band for the opening credits, but it's tonally out of tune with the rest of the movie that we get. Surprisingly, the opening credits provide some of the best visuals the whole movie had to offer.
The other strength is casting. Even with a script that is far less than desirable, these horror mainstays treat this vehicle with true professionalism, and it shows. Both Oberst Jr and Moseley deserve a lot of credit for taking on this project. The interplay between them is the best chemistry the movie has to offer and their first dialogue scene is the best scene in the movie. They also deserve praise for the performances they both give. The rest of the cast is mismatched and the remaining characters are acted very poorly. This makes sense for a movie that is itself off its center. For the most part, the performers do adequately but even when the acting is good, it's still uneven. The final act would be stronger if the rest of the actors could match Oberst Jr and Moseley's level, but they can't. It does this muddled mess of a film no favors.
It's very clear this movie has no idea what it wants to say. It's about a tragic event that happened years ago during a children's show! Its about family! It's about the occult! It's about puppets and a puppet master who wants to kill everyone! It's about menacing men in welding masks that terrorize people?! It's about a super blood moon needed for a ritual??? The attempts to meld these events into a cohesive story just does not work, at all.
Essentially, it's a take on good versus evil in an abandoned television studio which is now owned by Bill Moseley's character. His son and friends are partying in this same studio and then they start getting picked off by puppets that used to be stars in a children's show. The movie is filled with genre cliche after cliche. The script keeps trying to bring in elements that elevate the story; but with each addition it becomes more and more of a jumbled mess. There is some unique stuff when filming with the puppets but even then, it's over-shadowed by intentional over stuffing of ideas. Which is Handy Dandy's most constant and fatal flaw.
It might have been interesting to see the original intent of the script. It honestly feels like a sequel, it opens like one, it plays out like one. However, as far as this reviewer can tell; it is not one.
The movie feels incredibly disjointed. The score does not help, as like the film, it can't find its center. It often fluctuates between grandiose and very subdued, sometimes within the same scene. It never works.
The Devil's Junction: Handy Dandy's Revenge is a film that can and should be missed.
You can catch Handy Dandy's (final?) performance with The Devil's Junction: Handy Dandy's Revenge now playing limited theaters in L.A., with a VOD release planned for November 5th from Acort International.
By Justin Drabek