This German horror-comedy offers plenty of promise, with a plot that sees an all-out battle for Hell and Heaven amongst those good, bad, and somewhere in-between.
When the Prince of Hell, Belial, loses the plot and tries to claim both Hell and Heaven as his own, Luzifer (Noah Hunter) commands Amon (Gerrit Reinecke) to stop him and stop an almighty kick-off between two realms which are embarked on a pact of peace. As Amon brings in the sex-mad (and comedic highlight) Samsaveel (Sebastian Ruckert initially, before the horned-up hellion takes on another form) to help with this mission, a war starts to brew as Belial runs amok and even takes out an angel. Those from above and those from below all start to make their way to Earth, as an almighty battle begins to simmer. The question is simply whether Amon and his sexed-up accomplice can put a halt to all of this before the world truly does go to Hell.
One of the huge plus points of Damned on Earth is that despite being ridiculously low-budget (as in it often comes across as almost a student film), the film always manages to have a light and breezy sense of freshness to it. Then again, on the flip side, by the time it gets to the second half then things really begin to drag and you find yourself hoping for the dramatic conclusion to pull its finger out and arrive like a bat out of Hell (Meatloaf TM).
Performance-wise, Gerrit Reinecke is great as the initial anchor of the film, and the character of Samsaveel steals the movie during any scene for which they appear. Initially played by Sebastian Rucket, Samsaveel still devours scenery when in other forms as the film progresses. Other than that, a lot of the other performances verge between awful and nearly average, although the effort of all should be commended and Ralf Kemper seems a director with promise.
And then there’s the comedy, which is a little too fleeting in decent quality when all is said and done. There are certain moments that will bring a smile to the face of most, but for a film that is labelled a horror-comedy by its creators, there seems little of either. Maybe the comedy is merely a case of “lost in translation”, and it is notable that there are certain errors in the subtitles of the film. As such, a little bit of slack has to be given on that front.
Overall, Kemper offers a lot of potential and promise going forward, but so many things ultimately fall flat here, resulting in a film with heart but just not quite the conviction to be anything more than so-so.
DAMNED ON EARTH / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: RALF KEMPER / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: GERRIT REINECKE, SEBASTIAN RUCKERT, JULIA JUTTE, NOAH HUNTER, SVENJA GORGER / RELEASE DATE: TBC