03rd Apr2015

‘The Device’ DVD Review

by Joel Harley

Stars: Angela DiMarco, David S. Hogan, Kate Alden, Gabriel Congdon, Lorraine Montez, Ben Andrews, Russell Hodgkinson, Morgen Johnson | Written by Jeremy Berg, John Portanova | Directed by Jeremy Berg


Two estranged siblings, one significant other, a dead mother’s ashes and a cabin (yes, in the woods); what’s old is new again in this classy addition to the ever-growing subgenre. Like the recent Honeymoon, The Device is a cabin in the woods movie without irony, aware of what has gone before, but not resorting to nudge-nudge-wink-wink post-modernism in the process.

And, unlike most cabin-in-the-woods features, this one even dares to venture beyond its central location, actually letting its characters leave for home – a place few of the subgenre have ever dared to go (no, Army of Darkness doesn’t count). Scattering said dead mum’s ashes at an old secluded holiday home, sisters Abby and Rebecca discover a strange alien artefact in the woods near the neighbouring lake. Smarmy man-of-the-piece Calvin insists on keeping hold of the thing (well, it could be worth something), but the sisters aren’t so sure – even less so when Abby is found sleepwalking around the place and experience strange dreams.

Jeremy Berg’s dreamlike alien chiller has great visuals and an intriguing story but, alas, not much beyond that. The titular device (think the Sphere from Sphere, crossed with a Christmas bauble) is a promising addition to the subgenre, but it doesn’t actually go anywhere. Aside from home, that is.

Sluggishly paced and sleepily acted, it’s hard to stick with, even as its story goes into ever stranger places. Had it been shorter and snappier, it could have been a real winner – as it is, though, The Device winds up as a sad collection of clichés, its strongest suit being the one it wears on the DVD case. Maybe a little nudge-nudge-wink-wink post-modernism wouldn’t have gone amiss, then.

*** 3/5

The Device is available now on DVD and VOD.


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