The Devil’s Own Review


Get ready for a lot of rubbish with this film folks. Films about cults or ones where the villains turn out to be from a cult tend to either be suspenseful as thrillers or just plain bad as we have to sit through long sequences of what they do for fun. This one falls into the latter as the film completely falls off the rails and I would have preferred if something really supernatural was going on. Of course with a title like this you expect the villains to be rather loopy.

The movie starts with a teacher named Gwen being attacked by some of the natives at the village she was working with. They even burst into her house wearing masks and she ended up leaving to work at a small village instead. This at least seems like a reasonable place to work, however the place is not as it seems. Two kids are trying to have a romance but it is forbidden by the adults and supposedly one of them is even a witch. This may seem to just be some pesky adults at first but then one of the kids falls into a coma and it seems that anyone who defies the old lady may get punishments as well. Is there really a witch in town and if so…is Gwen safe?

While I think the film’s pretty awful from cover to cover, I will give it some points for pulling off a really surprising move. At one point in the film we get a several month time skip which is a crazy long period of time. It comes out of nowhere and you wonder what the villains were doing this whole time. One thing leads to another and Gwen gets temporary amnesia for a while. So keep this in mind….the villains waited months to plan out their big move.

I mean it’s part of the prophecy and they had to wait but that was really convenient for Gwen. It’s heroic of Gwen to head back to stop the cult considering how dangerous it was, but she really got lucky there. Gwen wants to be a good teacher so you are rooting for her the whole time. I would just be upset at Alan since he’s the guy who gave her the position. He really didn’t give her much of a heads up about how crazy this place is.

As the film goes on, the body count grows with Ronnie being knocked into a coma, his father getting taken out, and ultimately the mother has to flee town. You’d think people could stand up to one old lady but I guess witch abilities are just too much for everyone. There is a fairly small cast of notable characters as a result.

Of course you have Granny Riggs herself, the lady known to be a witch or at least suspected of it. She talks tough and is extremely stern with Linda. She is really set on the old ways and while I agree with her that Linda is far too young for any kind of romance, the method she uses to get this point across is obviously wrong. Never any excuse for being nasty to such a small child.

Linda appears to be suspicious the whole time. She does claim that nothing is wrong at home and does her best to de-escalate each situation but whether you believe her or not will be the real question. Then you have Stephanie who appears to be nice enough and is the one person Gwen can count on. On one hand there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with her but on the other hand, that alone is a bit odd eh?

The first half of the film is really more of a slow burner. Gwen walks through the town and gets to know everyone but it takes a while for things to take a turn. At first everyone just seems to be a little quirky and there’s nothing wrong with that. Where there’s smoke there is fire though and that’s usually a very tried and true lesson in these things. If the film kept it up like this then it really would have been quite all right.

The problem is the climax. Once we have the cult and we get to the usual human sacrifice angle, we have to sit through a very long procession with the characters acting like fools. They’re throwing mud at each other, babbling on about stuff, chanting, and doing everything you’d expect at a cult festival. It would seem that the whole town was under a spell so none of them had any strength of character here. The whole scene is so long though and incredibly gross.

It’s such a shocking departure from the rest of the film both in content and tone. It really comes out of nowhere and while it may underscore how depraved all of this is, the level of detail was wholly unnecessary. Cut that out of the film and this would at least jump up several points but with it the film was absolutely doomed to oblivion.

The film had such an easy out too. When Gwen got her amnesia and woke up at a happy little place, they could have hinted that it was all a dream. Perhaps her experience in the village during the opening scene just really messed her up and she imagined the rest. It may have felt like a bit of a cop out but at least then we wouldn’t have had to go back to the place. The townsfolk weren’t exactly grateful for her efforts either.

Ronnie’s mother is antagonistic to Gwen for no reason when the lead is trying to figure out what happened. She just seems to be jumping at shadows and is completely unreasonable. Then you have Alan who wants to convince people to leave the school but won’t clue Gwen in and gets upset at her for not picking up the nonexistent clues. If the people would talk more then this would be so much easier for Gwen. Of course this also depends on how much they actually know about the situation. They seem to know that the place isn’t a safe one to stay in at least so just tell this to Gwen straight up.

Overall, The Devil’s Own is definitely a very poorly made film. I’m still not totally sure why the name was switched from The Witches but I suppose this sounds like a more attention grabbing title? Both titles work for the film in different ways as the former describes the first half of the film while this one jumps you into the climax. Not like any version of the title would make the actual film any better though so I suppose it barely matters. The moral of the story here is to always watch out for cults no matter where you are or you may find yourself in trouble like the lead here.

Overall 1/10

Village of the Damned (1995) Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s time to look at the gritty remake of the original film. This one decides to switch out the tense atmosphere for just murdering everybody and misses the entire point of the concept. It’s not as if it’s a great concept from the start, but the original movie had 1000x the quality of this remake. The 1995 film just isn’t very good and I had to give it a full thumbs down in this go-around. Better luck next time I suppose…also I would switch the title as well.

The movie starts off by introducing us to a nice little town. Unfortunately one day everyone abruptly falls asleep and it’s like the whole town was shut down. The government is called in and agent Verner shows up. It turns out that everyone in the village is now about to have a baby so she offers them all a ton of money to keep the babies. These babies have super powers which mainly involve telepathy but also a shared memory so they learn at the same time. They quickly begin bumping everyone off in the village so the government is forced to consider drastic options. Is there any good in these monster children or are they all corrupt from the start?

The main guy here is Alan and his kid is really the leader of the pack. He wants to see the good in the kids, but after they murder his wife he finds himself having a hard time coping. Verner wants him in the thick of things though because he is the only one who can really handle the truth about these babies. It puts him in a pretty tricky spot. He seems to have the most optimism that there could be some good in them despite what happened early on in the movie. He’s a reasonable character and at least he put up some mental defenses. I would have liked him to be more pro-active rather than giving up after his wife was bumped off though. It’s hard to take revenge against kids, but maybe moving out of town or trying to arrest them. Almost anything’s better than just giving up.

Meanwhile the other parents all have their little plots as well. Some go drunk and crazy because they aren’t used to kids being so powerful. Others try to still be normal parents, but this becomes impossible. Ultimately the kids are all evil and want to end humankind anyway so it’s not like it really matters what the people do. They all have to be extra careful though because if they make any kind of mistake or look at the kids in a mean way it’s curtains. The penalty for any kind of action against them is automatically death which is pretty intense. They also make sure to destroy the humans as painfully as possible and punish them multiple times.

This version of the movie is just very dark in this respect. The kids take over the village rather quickly. They’re impossible to defeat at least with how long the people take to act. One such scene is when the government is called in and they all stop to tell the kids to put their hands in the air. What’s the point of doing this when they can just break your mind and make you shoot everyone else? If you’re coming in to eliminate the kids then you shoot right away. If that wasn’t the game plan then you shouldn’t have shown up at all. Coming in half ready just means there will be more victims. It is an excuse to have a long fight between the cops and the army which ultimately doesn’t accomplish much of anything.

The saddest death is probably for Verner. You had a feeling that the kids would get to her eventually but there was a point where you thought she had a chance. After she warned Alan to get out she should have made a beeline for anywhere outside the town. Not leaving immediately is ultimately what cost her. The luckiest characters would definitely be the ones who get hit by the bomb since it’s at least an instant death instead of it being drawn out.

Only one of the kids does not appear to be totally evil and even he waits until the very end of the movie to do anything. I would have liked to have seen him stand up to the other kids a little sooner. Alan does buy him enough time to make a stand so it’s better than nothing. At least Jill and David get a happy ending which is one more happy ending than anyone got in the Omen. This is still a terrible film though. I think part of the issue here is that a lot of violence is committed towards non-combatants.

Over the top violence is bad in any context. I would argue though that there is still a world of difference between someone like the Terminator and a bunch of army fighters getting destroyed than a local school teacher who has nothing to do with anything. A lot of the people who end up dying in this film really had no malicious intentions and just made a mistake along the way. For them to meet such a gruesome end really doesn’t do anything to service the plot and just feels gratuitous. It’s really poor writing that is just an excuse to feature more deaths. This film really relies on shock value at the expense of every other part of the movie.

Overall, I’d recommend staying away from this movie. We’ve got another big 0 here and you can probably see the trend. Films about evil kids are usually just pretty terrible and especially when you make them as gruesome as this film. The murders are really bad here and some of them are even worse than what you’d expect to see in something like Scream. I highly recommend watching the original instead if you want to see this plot, but honestly you could also just skip it entirely. There’s really nothing here that you absolutely need to see and I wouldn’t exactly call it an enjoyable experience either way. What you want is a real film with action scenes like Man of Steel or something.

Overall 0/10