A quick summary (spoiler alerts!): new preacher comes to a small town were everyone is creepy and boring and low and behold they’re actually a cult and the new family is the sacrifice for the demons of Hell. One is left alive to close the gate of Hell again and she must watch a new family come to town to start the cycle over again.
It’s not a bad premise for a short little horror film. You can tell that Slash grew up with horror films and he knows the tropes. The movie is filled with them. From the blonde haired blue eyed skinny virgin being the one to survive, to the slightly chubbier, dark haired, sex starved sister being the one who is sacrificed to the demon. They have their prerequisite 2.5 children, we get a little stringy haired creepy walking girl action in there, we get foreboding dream sequences, we get creepy towns people being all ritualistic. You can go on and on. There are plenty of tropes to find. I do take exception to the fact that the virgin heroine seemed to need to be faultlessly pretty, tow headed and compliant and the sacrificed sister is slightly defiant, sarcastic and just good at talking to guys so its automatically implied she’s a slut and has to die. But that is the trope and they use it.
The cool parts: well, the effect they use to show the demon making its way to his victim is pretty cool. They show the now demonized sister spreading thready black living shadows before her as she walks. They manage to kill a kid, bravo for not wussing out. The idea that the town’s people have to paint their doors with lambs blood, just as Biblical Egyptian Jews did to ward off Death, was a cool concept. They also managed to tie in that little nugget to the beginning and end of the film so it rounded out nicely.
Now the bad: it lacked suspense, it lacked depth. They missed a perfect opportunity to draw out the suspense when we see the bad sister drugged and kidnapped. By this point in the movie we’ve been beaten over the head that the town as a whole is some type of crazy cult. Rather than showing us this fact implicitly, by revealing the captured sister and her subsequent possession, they had an opportunity to leave us in suspense. We could have seen the girl dragged off then come back fine. Only when she starts spewing black gunk to we realize the towns people did in fact start this horrific chain of events. But that would be my movie. A shambling, mummy-making demon monster is not really all that scary.
Though it gets some outright awesome make up at the end, it was hard for the plot to navigate around the fact they could just drive away from the creature and never return. Instead inexplicable scenes of them stopping for flimsy reasons had to be inserted so the monster could catch up with them. Even when we realize the hero was never going to rescue the damsel anyway, the pit stops seem drawn out and unneeded. It was an old school horror movie where the monster is not the scariest part of the film, but rather the towns people are for having released it into the world. I still couldn’t quite figure out why they had to release the demon in the first place, nor why they had to seal the gates of Hell again with the virgin blood, or how that was the only demon got out if that really was a gate to Hell.
It was a fine effort if you didn’t look too deep. Lots of horror movie lore and tropes that any fan would appreciate. A solid first effort but put it on your DVD list. Slash says it will be On Demand and on DVD within a few days of the release in theaters so you can probably get it now.
5 out of 10 slutty sisters who deserve to be cursed