Also known as “Obsidian Hearts” and “Darkstalkers”, which presumably was an attempt to aid the confused few people who were trying to find Sean Patrick Flanery’s 2005 “Demon Hunter”, this is the first starring role for Jenny Allford, who we’re big fans of at the ISCFC. Well, okay, she was top billed in “Lizzie Borden’s Revenge” but was like fifth when it came to onscreen time. But I digress.
Fans of comic “Hack / Slash” will recognise the plot of this fairly quickly. A young, beautiful, but tortured woman hunts demons, and accompanying her is a large, uncommunicative, German behemoth who does most of the fighting. She’s Cosette, and is cursed – demons and people with plain evil souls are drawn to her; he’s Klaus, a former enforcer for a crime family, who died briefly, saw hell and now wants to kill all the demons to correct the evil he used to do and get a ticket “upstairs”. They have a symbiotic relationship – she attracts the demons, he kills them.
Matt Hannon, star of “Samurai Cop”, tells a story about working with Iranian director Amir Shervan. He would read the dialogue and ask Shervan “can I change the wording so it sounds more like an American said this?” to which Shervan would always reply “no”. I assumed the same was true here, or that Allford and crew were being given words from people who’d maybe written the script in a foreign language and used bad translation software to turn it to English. But it turns out this might just be me wanting to salvage something.
I think it was during the dramatically necessary pole-dancing scene that I started to check out of this movie. An evil fella (we know this because he’s compelled to approach Cosette) is sat in a pole dancing club, and we get perhaps a little more footage than is strictly necessary of Raven Lexy. She is, as far as I can tell, something to do with Playboy, and has the oddest breasts I think I’ve ever seen. They’re very obviously the work of a surgeon, and are far higher up and tighter than you might expect from a normal human. I feel bad even mentioning them, or speculating about why she would have such manifestly awful surgical work done, but…I’m sorry. Her entire arc through the film is filler of the worst kind, too.
Allford has a lot to do in this film – as well as starring (and a brief bit of nudity), she does a voiceover, as if she’s writing in her diary. I’ve gone on the record before as thinking she’s talented and could well be a bigger part of a bigger film, but this one does her no favours whatsoever. Her voiceover is absolutely awful, even if a fair chunk of the blame must go to the rotten script, and she goes through the entire film as if she’s on some strong sedatives. She also smokes in several scenes, and I’d lay good money on her having never smoked before as it looks hilariously unnatural every time she tries.
What annoys most about watching films like this is that with a few tweaks (and a new director and writer) it could have been a great film. There are some nice touches – the mysterious Gonk-like ghost that pops up in a normal suburban garden is a surprisingly creepy visual; and if they’d injected a bit of humour, or made the “demons” either much camper or much creepier, it would have helped a great deal. But I’m not an armchair director, sorry.
It’s almost unbearably slow for long periods and the acting is so wooden I was beginning to suspect it was a deliberate directorial choice. I think there’s a perfect example of how little the filmmakers care about making a film, as opposed to spending $30,000 to spend time with a couple of attractive women they can get to be naked. Cosette goes to visit the Vicar who’s been feeding her information, and we get to spend a little time with him. The problem is, they couldn’t be bothered to buy or rent a proper vicar’s shirt, with the white collar, so they just got a normal black shirt and stuck what looks like white masking tape over the front. It’s so ugly, such a bad choice, that I’d be embarrassed to put my name to it.
I really wanted to like this, but the clever choices and good moments are so few, and so far between, that I just couldn’t. I keep hope, though, that more filmmakers will come along who can use today’s micro-budgets and do something interesting with them. And I will keep reporting back to you, dear reader.
Rating: thumbs down