The Devil's Business

"OK"

The Devil's Business Review


Essentially a two-hander, this slow-burning horror film contains some strongly unsettling moments. But while the characters are engaging, the writing and directing feel simplistic in their approach both to them and to the escalating freak-out.

The experienced hitman Pinner (Clarke) and his young, impatient sidekick Cully (Gordon) break into a house and wait for their mark Kist (Hansler) to get home from the opera. While they wait, Cully gets Pinner to tell him a creepy story from his years working for their boss Bruno (Miller). But Pinner's tale is interrupted by a loud noise outside, and when they investigate they discover the aftermath of a gruesome satanic ritual in the garage. And from this point on, nothing goes remotely as expected.

There's a lively tension between Pinner and Cully that's both blackly hilarious and darkly unnerving, nicely overplayed by Clarke and Gordon. Clearly the fidgety Cully has no idea what's at stake here, and as the gravity of the situation slowly begins to dawn on him, the film grabs our attention too. It's a remarkably claustrophobic little thriller, making up for the arch script and uneven acting with a growing sense of dread things spiral out of control.

Writer-director Hogan hides his low budget in deep shadows (the two men don't turn on any lights) and a limited cast that makes the film feel like a stage play. Especially since the main elements of suspense are in the long, detailed story Pinner recounts like a theatrical monologue. Or maybe it's more like a radio play, since the shadows mean that we can't properly see Clarke's face as he tells his grisly ghost story. But this cleverly sets us up for the nasty nuttiness that follows.

Until it devolves into a silly conclusion, this is an enjoyably gritty little movie, with strong characters who create a gnawing sense of increasing chaos.

The violence is effectively gruesome, even if it's accompanied by cheesy Dr Who-style music and make-up. As the veteran and the rookie, Clarke and Gordon bring a sharp edge to their interaction as everything that happens around them refuses to make any sense. But while Hogan's story twists are inventive and unpredictable, they're not hugely satisfying, simply because the increasingly goofy scenes are played with such a straight face.



The Devil's Business

Facts and Figures

Run time: 69 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th August 2012

Distributed by: Metrodome Distribution

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 5.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Sean Hogan

Producer: Jennifer Handorf

Starring: Billy Clarke as Pinner, as Cully, Jonathan Hansler as Kist, Harry Miller as Bruno

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