The Devil's Mile Movie Review
Written by Richelle Charkot
DVD released by Phase 4 Films
Written and directed by Joseph O'Brien
2014, 88 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on August 12th, 2014
David Hayter as Toby McTeague
Maria del Mar as Cally
Casey Hudecki as Jacinta
Frank Moore as Mr. Arkadi
Shara Kim as Demon
Amanda Joy Lim as Kanako Kobayashi
The phrase, "Don't judge a book by its cover" drifted into my mind when I was looking at still from The Devil's Mile before watching it. Scrolling through I thought, "Ugh, bald crime boss in a leather jacket? Check. Creepy Asian girl ghost? Check. Mustachioed hit-man with a beer gut? Sigh, check." Although all signs pointed to "bad movie" I told myself to give it a chance. Unfortunately, I was pretty spot on with my assumptions about this film. It has a fairly muddled plot that drags in the middle, peppered with some bad CGI and cheesy acting. Strap on your seatbelts and prepare for an unremarkable ride down The Devil's Mile.
Toby, Cally and Jacinta are three workers for the menacing and ill-tempered Mr. Arkadi. We meet the hired help after they have kidnapped two girls that allegedly have rich parents that will pay handsomely for the return of their daughters. Driving to Arkadi and making a pit-stop along the way at an eerily deserted gas station, Cally discovers that one of the girls they have abducted is not the person they were supposed to apprehend, which is a mistake that will cause an upset with their sociopathic boss. Determined to just finish the trip and deal with the repercussions, the trio and their hostages continue down a road that the gas station attendant advises against. Drama ensues when one of the girls tries to escape and is accidentally run down in the panic of the moment. Just when the cast of criminals think that their biggest concern is the hot-headed Arkadi that they have to answer to, they begin to face gruesome and hate-filled forces of the supernatural that are more terrifying than anything they have experienced before.
This is almost an okay movie. I didn't quite understand the ending, possibly due to my own ineptitude, but more likely due to the fact that the middle drags so badly that I was counting down the minutes until the film was over. Its conclusion does appear as though it is a calculated and clever idea that would have had an engaged viewer rewinding to catch every nuance and moment of foreshadowing. What The Devil's Mile really needed was some choice editing in the writing process and a removal of about ten minutes from the middle of the film, where the remaining criminals and hostages are slowly (and I mean slowly) realizing that something is very amiss and very dangerous on this road that they are stuck on. After about twenty minutes of aimless driving and worrying groans from the demon in the trunk, I found myself thinking, "We GET IT," instead of keeping hold of my attention or evoking any feeling of anxiety. Also on the vein of bad writing, the dialogue is very stilted and awkward. Characters repeat each other's names to the point where it's annoying and very unreflective of realistic banter (Note: idea for a drinking game, drink every time Cally says, "JACINTA!"). Another fatal flaw is some seriously poor CGI in the scenes with the evil spirit. Instead of the use of practical effects, which is almost always a more effective alternative, the cheap looking computer graphics bring viewers right out of the fears of the moment because the demon looks so obviously fake. With some re-working and harsher editing, The Devil's Mile probably would have been a fun and creepy movie with a mildly interesting plot, but as is, it is an unexceptional film with an unimpressive ghost.
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