21st Jun2017

‘Demon Hunter’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Niamh Hogan, Alan Talbot, Michael Parle, Sarah Tapes Jenkinson, Kevin O’Malley, Nic Furlong, Aisli Moran, Saorla Wright | Written by Tony Flynn, Zoe Kavanagh | Directed by Zoe Kavanagh


Lurking in the shadows of society, within the rich and powerful, is the true essence of evil. A young girl, Taryn Barker, descends into this dark underworld to search for her sister. But when the sister is raped and murdered, Taryn vows to take revenge. She survives a demonic possession that should have killed her during a satanic ritual, and is rescued by a team of demon hunters who train her to fight evil. Years later, Taryn is detained by police and questioned over the murder of a man who she believes to be a demon. As the bodies pile up, Police Detective Beckett is forced to seek Taryn’s aid in rescuing his daughter from a demonic cult. Running against the clock, Taryn must venture into the darkest depths of the city to save Beckett’s daughter and prevent a potential Hell on Earth.

A true independent horror movie, made completely outside the “system” by an Irish, first-time, female, filmmaker? That’s enough to peak anyone’s interest in Demon Hunter. But then add the fact that Zoe Kavanagh’s debut feature is a spin on the same arse-kicking, take-no-prisoners, give-no f**ks, strong-female character that made Buffy the Vampire Slayer must-see TV; and you have a film that should be on the radar of EVERY genre fan!

But can a truly independent film live up to such expectations? In a word. Yes.

Not confined by its obvious low-budget, Demon Hunter is – like all good indie genre cinema – a  perfect storm of ideas, story, performances and filmmaking. And whilst budget may be lacking, the rest of the elements that make up Kavanagh’s film work to overcome any shortcomings: including a badass heavy metal soundtrack that really helps ramp up the excitement in the films numerous fight scenes; and a setting – the streets of Dublin – that haven’t really been explored in such rich detail previously.

In terms of story and plot, Demon Hunter packs a LOT into its swift runtime. The film manages to not only tell Taryn’s backstory, but also weave an intricate, and intimate, tale of the oldest of battles: that between good and evil. By making Taryn’s tale one of not only good vs. evil, but also of revenge and personal vengeance, Kavanagh manages to make what is essentially a small-scale production feel a part of a much larger story in an even larger universe. This really feels like only the beginning for our titular demon hunter…

Speaking of whom, our heroine Taryn is part Buffy, part Angel (with a dash of The Crow) and not only embodies everything that made those two characters great, but she’s a fiesty, fighting Irish lass too. With an inherent vulnerability – due to both her past and because of what Falstaff has put her through – that keeps the character grounded in reality when fighting demons is anything but real life. Taryn’s journey is fully mapped out here: from her schoolgirl beginnings to the rousing, and kick-ass, speech she gives at the end – this is her story, her fight, her film. And heres to seeing more!

Demon Hunter is out now from Left Films.


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