Demons Rising DVD Review
Written and Directed by William Lee
2008, Region 2 (PAL), 118 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 6th June 2011
E.J Toxey as Kyle Rush
Sylvester Person as Theo Locke
Talisha Battle as Kano
Christian Hayes as Larson
Cheyenne Kind as Breaker
Lonnie Gary as Leah
The biggest mission writing this review is a plot summary for Demons Rising. From the title you could surmise it has a pretty simple story — demons rise, hell breaks loose and someone saves the day. Well, not exactly. Demons Rising has so many sub plots, back stories and general unrelated goings-on it makes a straightforward story very muddled.
The film centres on a book called “The Liber Malorum” that has the power to raise the dead and turns anyone who reads it into a zombie. This book is so sought after, numerous groups are on a rampage to get it and will do anything to be in possession of it. That is the story simplified, but writer and director, William Lee, makes it much more complex than this. With numerous exotic locations and ridiculous subplots with completely unnecessary characters, this film becomes a tangled mess within the first 20 minutes.
The focus is mainly on Kyle who is hired as a professional thief, along with his girlfriend, to steal the book. But once they obtain it, they are doubled crossed and his girlfriend is caught in the crossfire and killed. Kyle seeks revenge on these people and is adamant he will get to the bottom of why the book is important and what power it holds.
For a film called Demons Rising I have to say I was very disappointed in the amount of demons on offer. It was too involved in giving a back story and introducing new characters that there weren’t as many demons as expected. But that may be because the title is rather misleading as to what this film is about. Yes it is a horror film, but it also wants to be an action film, a science fiction film, a spy film and a thriller. Unfortunately it doesn’t live up to any one of those genres fully.
One thing I did find funny was that it has a very entertaining habit of flashing up time frames like “One Hour Later”, but these are very specific times and there’s even a “45 Minutes Later” one. None of which really make much difference, so it was pretty amusing to me why they were even in there, no matter why they had to be so specific.
Unbelievably this film clocks up a total of nearly two hours, and at no point does it feel like it warrants that amount of time. It got so ridiculous that, at one point, I had an out of body experience where I saw myself watching the DVD with a caption underneath me reading “5 weeks later” and I was still watching this movie. It seemed like it was never going to end. When it did seem to get somewhere, new characters would pop up, or old ones with subplots happening in the background would re-emerge. The realisation that things would take more time to tie up was unbelievably frustrating.
Lee has been very ambitious with this film and while that is very commendable, with the budget they were (painfully obviously) on, it was never going to work. By condensing the script, reducing the locations and cutting out half the cast who were really unnecessary (and not particularly great) the film could have been passable as a respectable independent film. But what we have is a mishmash of ideas that do not work together. If he starts making these changes, his work will greatly improve, but right now it’s just a headache.
Video and Audio:
Being a very low budget film the video wasn’t too bad but was let down by an annoying habit of the camera wobbling. The video is shot and presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio. The audio however, is the most affected of the film. At times it is hard to hear the dialogue over the constant Casio keyboard soundtrack they have accompanying practically every scene, and even everyday noise gets in the way of outdoor scenes.
No extras here I’m afraid. Though there is a scene selection that may come in handy if you want to jump to the scenes where stuff is actually happening.