17th Jul2017

‘Devil’s Domain’ VOD Review

by Nik Holman

Stars: Madi Vodane, Kelly Decker, Michael Madsen, Linda Bella | Written and Directed by Jared Cohn


A bullied teen cozies up the Devil in order to enact vengeance on the mean girls at her high school…

Devil’s Domain sounds like a promising, if well worn, premise; a supernatural, revenge fantasy about the dangers of cyber-bullying and cruelty. Unfortunately, this film can’t decide if it wants to be Carrie, Mean Girls, or Saw. It’s as if somewhere along the shoot writer/director Jared Cohn kept coming up with new ideas and tried to switch the films tone every couple of scenes.

The film begins with bulimic, cutter, lesbian, teen Lisa Pomson (Madi Vodane) being harassed by literally every human being who shares her air. You know the old trope about how the villain has to kick a dog to prove how evil he is? Imagine Lisa is the dog and the entire world is the villain. Random girls walk by and call her “fat ass” or tell her to kill herself. After about fifteen minutes of this extreme abuse, I just stopped caring. It’s cartoonish. Nobody can have every horrible thing happen to them in one day, can they?

After Lisa’s lesbianism is ousted to the entire school, she is approached by heroin-chic Destiny (Linda Bella) for some girl-on-girl self-esteem building exercises. It’s no surprise when Destiny reveals herself to be the princess of darkness with an offer for revenge. As you can guess, hilarity ensues.

Speaking of satanic revelations, let’s talk about the “special” effects. A lot of good indie films understand their budget limitations and write a script accordingly. Devil’s Domain takes its budget limitation as a challenge to produce demonic transformations, gruesome torture, and a colony of bats choking the night sky. Everything looks as terrible as one can imagine and betrays the good work the few examples of practical effects accomplish. The devil’s bodysuit looks fantastic and a suicide victim has an eye bulge out of his head to good effect. It would have been nice to see more practical instead of going the CGI route. I can’t image CGI is cheaper, it’s just lazier.

On the plus side, this movie has Michael Madsen and the director thankfully realizes this. Madsen plays Bill, the kind-hearted stepfather, whose biggest contribution to the film is to add his name to the poster. Bill offers to drive Lisa to school, easily the most mundane thing a parent can do, but when Bill slow-motion steps out of the house to the electric twang of a blues guitar, he throws on his shades, and pops a cigarette into his mouth, you realize Madsen can make anything the coolest thing ever. Madsen lights up every scene he graces and adds some real heart with just the slightest of expressions.

Devil’s Domain isn’t without charm. Linda Bella plays a very seductive, and humorous, Devil. The manipulative relationship she has with Lisa is interesting and her endgame kept me watching. The body count is pretty high, but the death scenes are laughably bad. Is this a good movie? Not really. Not if you’re watching it alone. Invite some friends over and watch it after a couple of beers, you’ll have yourself a fun time.

Devil’s Domain is available on DVD and VOD, in the US, now.


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