Saturday, 20 September 2014

There's ghosts in every building

Devil's Tower (2014)

*A note. I consider the writer of this movie a friend and know a couple of the people who worked on it, including the director. I am going to write this review as if I did not, and did not know some of the behind the scenes info. 

Devil's Tower is probably the lowest budgeted movie I've ever reviewed on here, and this certainly suffers in a number of places from lack of time and funds. The sound quality is off in some of the scenes and, particularly at the end, it can't quite make the action/carnage beats work in a way that feels dynamic and interesting.
That said, there's some fun to be had here. It expresses a number of interesting ideas (most of which get a touch lost in the scrum) in an attempt to have something to say beyond counting down the seconds till someone has their throat torn out. A central theme feels very Kim Newman-esque, with the evil force controlling events in the Tower Block using teevee as a medium and filtering it's plan through the lens of film. A stand-out sequence has the Evil 'rewrite' a scene as a 1940's Hollywood piece, and it's a shame more wasn't made of this idea, barring some metatextual references in a confused rooftop climax.
Roxanne Pallett generally is not interesting enough to shoulder the dramatic weight put on her, though she too - like the film - shines in the 40s pastiche section so it's too bad she doesn't get to flex much outside of the kitchen sink drama direction the film places her in. Much more fun is Jason Mewes who has an impish charm and Jessica Jane-Stafford who is a bundle of energy and often a shot in the arm just when the film needs it.
Most of the sly film based commentary and creepy (though never especially scary) vibe is gone by the messy zombie (because of course) ridden last act that seems choppy with little sense of geography, though gore fans may find a little joy.

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