14th Jan2022

‘The Devil to Pay’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Danielle Deadwyler, Catherine Dyer, Jayson Warner Smith, Adam Boyer | Written and Directed by Lane Skye, Ruckus Skye

[NOTE: With the film set for a UK release next week, here’s a reposting of our four-star review of The Devil to Pay from it’s US release back in 2020]

On the face of things, The Devil To Pay could just be described as a revenge thriller but it does thankfully have more to it than many other films in that genre. After the disappearance of her husband, a farmer in an isolated Appalachian community fights to save her son when the matriarch of the oldest family on the mountain demands a payment of a debt.

In less capable hands this could be a very run-of-the-mill thriller but writers and directors Lane and Ruckus Skye (also writers of Becky) make things much more interesting. The film runs along at a good pace – coming in at a little over eighty minutes – and blends a great mix of drama with the occasional action and horror but always hard-hitting. Despite its uncompromising style, it’s a surprisingly pleasing watch of a movie. Perhaps in part to the cinematography which shows off the beautiful Appalachian landscape.

They also chose perfectly in their lead with Danielle Deadwyler as Lemon Cassidy. She’s fantastic in the role which sees as a character that happens to find herself in this situation and adjusting her actions with it. She clearly doesn’t want to do some of the things she does, she’s not comfortable in many of the circumstances she finds herself and they lead to actions she might regret. Despite this, you see the character become more confident and tough and she sells it all perfectly. She is so reassuringly calm and collected in those harsh and violent scenes that it makes the character this odd kind of scary. I’m sure Deadwyler will be leading many more films in the future.

She has a great cast around her too, with Brad Carter as Dixon Runion the stand-out. He comes across as very comfortable in a small but impactful role.

Carter is also the stand-out in a different way to, as he composes the music for The Devil To Pay. The score and soundtrack unquestionably being a highlight. With his style of old-school country and folk somehow managing to create tension, the odd moment of happiness, and this kind of unnerving haunting quality, all of which suits the movie and its characters perfectly. Carter even sings and plays a song in the film, in character, and it works when it really shouldn’t without feeling like it is forced into the movie with little reason. I’m sure Carter has a future with this type of soundtrack.

The eighty minutes fly by even without a fast pace to the movie and it actually feels like it could be the beginning of something bigger with the characters. There’s plenty of revenge thrillers released but The Devil To Pay feels different in the best ways and stands out even among the best. With this being Lane and Ruckus Skye’s first movie, I can’t wait to see what they bring in the future.

**** 4/5

Signature Entertainment presents The Devil to Pay on Digital Platforms 17th January

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.