I feel like I need to warn you that this review on Devil’s Revenge contains spoilers, but honestly, I'm doing you a favor…
...Jared Cohn's, Devil’s Revenge, stars William Shatner (Star Trek), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager), and Jason Brooks (Days of Our Lives). In it, Jason Brooks plays John, a husband and father who may or may not be afflicted with a Devil's curse, that may or may not be able to be broken if a super-secret relic can be found and destroyed.
I'm just going to come right out and say it: Devil’s Revenge is a boring, disconnected, and utterly annoying film. In fact, I'm not even sure how "Devil's Revenge" even comes into play given it's John and company who are seeking the revenge--not the Devil. The film's score starts out well, but then tapers off to something you may hear playing at a Spirit Halloween store. The creature designs are interesting, though far from original--the "Devil" baring an amazing resemblance to Mortal Kombat’s Shao Kahn. We'll leave the absurd visual effects and grenade launcher madness for another time.
This film is such a mess that I'm struggling on where to start.
I guess I'll start with William Shatner as he's no doubt the biggest attraction here. Shatner plays Hayes, father to John, and keeper of the family’s curse and the whereabouts of a relic that may end it. Unfortunately, the writing renders Shatner nothing more than a raving lunatic, that's a shit-bag to his son, with a minimal amount of screen time to boot. Although it was a joy to watch him shout "hallo-fuckin-ween" during one of his rants to John.
Jeri Ryan, another solid actor and a definite draw for me, plays Susan. However, instead of playing a strong female lead like she's known for, she's left spouting lines like "I just want my family to be a family," made even worse when coupled with the subpar acting of her castmate.
Which brings me to Jason Brooks. Brooks, who plays Susan's husband, John, is as appealing as a root canal. I've watched bad acting before. Sometimes bad acting can make a crappy film fun. But this? This is some old testament WTF. Brooks' acting is stiff, forced and mind-numbingly painful to watch. Early on, John crashes his truck in a scene where the only thing worse than Brooks' acting is the actual "crash" itself.
Next up, the script. In Blake Snyder's book Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, Snyder explains the term "save a cat" as a metaphor to having your protagonist do something that makes him/her likable. This is key when creating relatable characters that we can emotionally invest in. Apparently, this concept wasn't understood when writing the script to Devil’s Revenge, because in the opening moments we see John (our protagonist) first shouting obscenities at one friend and then carelessly leaving another behind to die. Okay, in fairness the second friend fell in the second dumbest "fall" I've ever had to endure on screen (first place goes to an opening scene in The Bat People), so perhaps he deserved it.
I will say that Phillip Andre Botello (Pledge) shines in his role as RJ. His acting really stood out for me and I hope to see him in more films. Also, Ciara Hanna (Pernicious), who plays John's daughter, Dana (whose primary role is delivering endless exposition), is as talented as she is stunning. I'm sure we'll see more of her too.
By the time I'd reached the end to Devil’s Revenge I was exasperated. I had literally no idea as to what just happened. Was it all a dream? Did John imagine this entire thing in his head? Why were those other two college kids killed? What the fuck just happened?
The ending bugged me so much that I begrudgingly wracked my brain on what Cohn might have been trying to convey. The closest I could come, after some debate, was that the monsters were a metaphor for death, and this entire movie was about John trying to fight it off, and eventually embrace it. And herein lies the issue with themes and central ideas in a movie. When done right, it's impactful, haunting. However, Devil’s Revenge didn't even remotely convey this idea. Instead we're force fed an unrelated story about a curse and given a giant middle finger as a reward.
I can't even with this film. From the stiff and painful cardboard acting to the film's ridiculously convoluted and nonsensical ending, Devil’s Revenge isn't even worthy of a Razzie. Skip it.
Devil's Revenge is now out on VOD from Cleopatra Entertainment.
By Daniel Boucher