Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Devil’s Revenge: “Presented by” William Shatner

Perhaps you always suspected, but it turns out Hell really is in Kentucky. To be precise, it is nestled deep within the Louisville Grotto, which has never looked so small before. An archaeologist keeps venturing down there in search of an artifact that he believes has cursed his family, but the tricks the demons play with his mind just might kill him in Jared Cohn’s Devil’s Revenge, which releases today on VOD.

Let’s be honest right up front, this story makes next to no sense. For some reason, John’s blowhard father is convinced there is a “relic” hidden somewhere in the Grotto (renamed “Black Hollow Cave”) that must be destroyed if their family is to survive. Even the formerly responsible academic thinks the old man is off his rocker, but he keeps going down. The last trip was especially disastrous, resulting in the death of one of his hill country Sherpas. He also brought the demons back with him.

After a near-death experience, John sees evil things everywhere. His only recourse will be recovering and destroying the relic once and for all. For reasons that baffle the mind, his ex-military father convinces him to bring along his wife Susan, daughter Dana, and son Eric, to ensure they will be in maximum harm’s way.

Right, that sounds like a logical course of action. Regardless, it is not like we are invested in any of these characters. All this film really has to offer are two over-the-top tirades from William Shatner, eclipsing all his Star Trek freak-outs and even outdoing his meltdown from The Intruder. Granted, the prospect of seeing the Shat blow away demons with a gas-powered projectile launcher is some kind of enticement, but everything else in this movie is a huge disappointment.

Indeed, nobody will be more bummed out than Trekkers, who would ordinarily be psyched to see Shatner and Star Trek: Voyager’s Jeri Ryan together in a genre context. At least Shatner delivers the Shat, whereas Ryan is completely wasted as the staggeringly unintuitive Susan.

To be fair, the demon design work is not terrible, but the script is. Perversely, Cohn manages to steadily narrow the film’s scope and siphon off all the tension. Plus, he ends it with a massively lame ending that is both derivative and a total cheat. Somehow, Cohn seems to be devolving as a filmmaker, following up the slam-bang entertaining The Horde and the gleefully naughty Devil’s Domain, with the altogether unpleasant Death Pool and the utterly unwatchable Halloween Pussytrap Kill Kill. This movie is just dumb in a bad way. Not recommended to anyone, Devil’s Revenge launches today on VOD.