12th Jun2014

‘Devil’s Due’ DVD Review

by Jack Kirby

Stars: Zach Gilford, Allison Miller, Sam Anderson, Roger Payano, Vanessa Ray | Written by Lindsay Devlin | Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Devils-Due-cast

If this was the first found-footage horror you’d ever seen, then Devil’s Due would probably strike you as a fairly shocking tour de force. Unfortunately, it’s 2014 now and 78% of all mainstream horror films present themselves as found footage. Devil’s Due therefore has little to offer that the average horror fan hasn’t seen before and generally done quite a lot better.

We meet Zach (Zach Gilford) and Samantha (Allison Miller), a couple who marry at the beginning of the film despite him being in his early thirties and her looking like she’s about ready to move up to big school soon. He is also the kind of person that feels the need to video every moment of his life (who only exist in horror films), so why anyone would want to commit to a legally binding relationship with him is puzzling. They spend their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic where on a night out, they are taken to a weird underground club by a friendly-seeming taxi driver, drugged and a weird rite is performed on Samantha. This is all caught on Zach’s ‘adventure camera’ though why it blacks out when he does is not explained.

Back home, Samantha finds out she’s pregnant and all manner of bad craziness starts happening. Could the baby be… THE DEVIL?

It’s easy to pick fault with the film, so I will. Why is there a time code in the found footage only in the first two scenes, which handily inform us the action takes place over nine months? Why doesn’t Zach, an avid documentarian, watch any of the footage he shoots that would clue him in on the evil that’s going on? Into what power supply are the hidden cameras that the bad guys hide around the couple’s home plugged? Why does writer Lindsay Devlin think that having a dog sense evil is anything other than lazy script-writing shorthand? Why is the film presented as found footage when there’s no reason that serves the narrative or aesthetic style for it to be so? Why does the evil sign that the baddies draw everywhere look like the euro? Is this film actually a subtle Eurosceptic treatise?

That’s not to say there aren’t a couple of okay jumps in it and the basic premise is reasonably strong, tapping into the anxieties and fears of the parent to be. If you’re already a little antsy about pregnancy then this film will give you a major case of the collywobbles. I’d have liked a little more humour; there are some laughs but they’re not intentional on the filmmakers’ part.

It’s unfortunate that a little more time and effort wasn’t put into ironing out the silly logical inconsistencies and rethinking the found footage format. Had Devil’s Due been filmed traditionally, it’d probably be a more interesting, certainly scarier movie. Hopefully one day my dream of a horror film in which the protagonist films everything but we never see their footage as the film is shot traditionally will be realised. Whilst it’s not actively offensive, more than anything it simply feels lazy. It’s reasonably diverting and fun in a laughing at it not with it way, but most horror fans should expect a film to deliver a lot more. Deliver. As in, ‘deliver a baby’. Get it?

Devil’s Due is released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 16th courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Check out our interview with actress Allison Miller right here.

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