Director Daniel Falicki (noted for his character driven exploration of true monsters in Aeon: The Last Vampyre on Earth ) created a slow burn sci-fi and horror film, that contains descent special effects and keeps upping the ante of more bizarre occurrences into the storyline, which creates a surprising enjoyable production from Chemical Burn Entertainment. The script borrows from The X-Files and other aspects from UFO believers, including the infamous Roswell incident and with Falicki’s story, Lisa Mueller and Ryan Leske (Awaken the Devil ) work together to create the screenplay, which pleases most sci-fi fans, it is not without flaws, after all, it’s a low-budget film, yet it graces over those issues. A common trait in many horror films comes from lack of character development, which does not occur on this production, which blends a terrorizing psycho, with his own conspiracy against aliens, showing that vengeance is not merely a human trait.
Originally entitled All the Devil’s Aliens, an awful title, luckily reassessed and a more suitable title now graces the film, wherein a medical student Michael (David Gries (America’s Most Haunted )), assigned by a home healthcare service, gives him a destination in the middle of nowhere, and glimpses of shadowy figures flash for briefest of seconds. His sole job is to aid Robin Bradbury (Lisa Mueller (Buzzard )), who has the only direct contact with Stanton Pinborough, seeing to his every issue, under duress of an extremely rude and unorthodox individual whose coughing hacks are extremely annoying and without any respect to his aides. Pinborough, a man of wealth and secrets, suffers the loss of his son and wife under mysterious issues, and a vast knowledge now swirls in his mind like a merry-go-round out of control, while complaining about silence in and already silent home. In the beginning of the film, rumors mix in with Pinborough’s past, surrounding controversy over the alleged Roswell crash in 1947, and what was his direct involvement with the government and military branch, while his family endures the anguish of the incident. Michael’s concern of shadow human figures outside and perhaps within the confines of the house, go unanswered and uninvestigated.
Pacing rears its ugly head, early on in the film, with worst elements occurring for almost 40 minutes, even though a story needs to set up the characters and situations, Falicki takes a long-winded path of getting to the true essence of the plot, but when that happens, a creative story emerges. The first half of the film deals with both weary Michael and Robin working together to serve and care for the reclusive and eccentric and slightly unhinged Stanton Pinborough, after Robin’s disappearance occurs, a surreal nightmare explodes on the screen.
Joseph Scott Anthony (Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption ), steals the second half of the film, his portrayal of Pinborough, measure just enough insanity and creepy voice without becoming a farce or a campy performance, his mannerisms capture the mysterious wonderment of past inhuman deeds and experiments layered with a devious decision all in an effort to the visitors at bay. When a curious Michael investigates absent Robin, he encounters a Stanton, completely intimidating and creepily takeovers over the first time meeting of Michael, who witnesses bloodstained bedsheets, and thoroughly shell shocked at his patient’s behavior. Gries delivers a solid performance, under the character driven scene, leaving the audience wondering if some of the interactions with Anthony were not in fact adlib, however never did the moment arise where the dialogue felt forced.
The most bizarre moment has Pinborough acting extremely odd and panicked, while he dances with a corpse in a ballroom, as Michael looks on in disbelief, hearing his client’s ranting and raging tones, screaming at no one. Through the insanity one learns of the doom and gloom plaguing Stanton and the household, the shadows, belong to aliens, they hold responsible for taking his family, in retaliation for his past deeds. In addition, Stanton feeds to the aliens his disposable aides, and yet the torment continues keeping him young to suffer in their war against, not allowing for a natural demise. Only Michael has the power to end it all, to solve the mystery and end the torments, with some surprising results, all craftily visually display by Falicki.
Devils in the Darkness, has faults, like many of sci-fi films involving aliens, such as Independence Day , usually confined to logic processing, however aside of that issue, it delivers a solid performance from the actors, with a well-balanced crew developing a deeply bizarre creepy tale of tragedy and insanity. The lighting and sound were without flaws, something that could occur on very small budgeted films, absent under Daniel Falicki’s direction, the entertaining ending brings a curious touch, for a possible sequel.
This review was originally posted in June 2014 on the now defunct Rogue Cinema website.
IMDb Rating: 4.5/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.0/10