DVD Review: The Devil in Me / Cert: 18 / Director: Greg A. Sager / Screenplay: Geof Hart, Greg A. Sager / Starring: Vanessa Broze, Michelle Argyris, Shantelle Canzanese, Wayne Conroy / Release Date: July 9th
While it might be true that there's no such thing as a free lunch, any horror fan will tell you that the thing you really need to be wary of is suspiciously cheap real estate. In The Devil in Me, college students Alex (Michelle Argyris,) Jessica (Shantelle Canzanese) and Breanna (Vanessa Broze) are delighted with the low rent on the house they're sharing, but there's a catch. It turns out that Alex's prettily refurbished attic bedroom is a room with a ghoul – a malevolent demon that claws the poor girl's flesh, bounces her about on the bed and generally has its evil way with her.
It takes a while for things to get to that point, though. Presumably lacking the budget for a full-blooded spooker, writer/director Greg A. Sager goes for the slow burn, but the result is more like a wet fizzle as he uses up the first reel with time wasting am-I-going-mad-can-this-be-really-happening conversations and underwhelming portents of doom – a TV that flickers on and off of its own accord, a dire warning from a pallid little girl, a folder that spontaneously fills up with squiggles and – be still, my creeping flesh – a book that Alex puts down in one place only for it to turn up in another.
The terrified Alex attempts to enlist the help of her boyfriend Brian (Kevin Jake Walker) but he, in a move which makes him a shoe-in for Shittiest Boyfriend of 2012, retaliates by accusing her of using demonic possession as an excuse not to have sex with him – an accusation he voices with some bitterness, even though he's already being well serviced by Alex's slutty housemate Breanne. Luckily, a friendly professor (Wayne Conroy) takes an interest in the case, and, coincidence of coincidences, his father (Michael G. Wilmot) happens to be a priest who performed an exorcism in the very same attic many years before...
Sager summons up one or two decent scares and minor surprises – there's a moment when Alex laps at a pool of urine which is definitely not the kind of thing you see every day – but the storyline is clunky, the script too vacuously chatty to allow the cast much traction on their characters, and the long-deferred pay off has the feel of a fan tribute to The Exorcist funded out of a student loan. If you're gripped by the sudden urge to rescue this one from a bargain bin, think twice – it's the devil in you talking.
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