If you wish to go to the current Fangoria site, you may click the top logo, "Home" or "News" links. Or click here.
I happened to check out a monthly short program of horror
shorts called Little Terrors that director Justin McConnell (THE COLLAPSED)
hosts in Toronto. On that program, one film that really stuck out was Michael
Sharpe’s DEVILING. This one really has the goods in my two favorite areas in
horror films: hyperkinetic performances and great atmosphere.
DEVILING starts off with a quote from Edgar Allan Poe. OK,
hardly a new idea, but it does set the tone for the piece, despite it having a
modern setting. We meet up with Ronald (Robert Haulbrook), a mortician doing
double duty giving a man an autopsy and placing stalking phone calls to his
attractive ex-girlfriend Charlene (Jodi Essex) on Halloween night. To say that
Ronald is upset about the breakup is the understatement of the year. The first
half of the movie flips back and forth between his lab and her house through a
series of calls, as he assures her that her worst nightmare will come true if
she doesn’t take him back. Things go from bad to worse in terms of Ronald’s
emotional state, and the second half turns into a home-invasion scenario that
feels very much like a haunted-house setpiece.
Haulbrook’s intense performance is the centerpiece of
DEVILING; he channels Jack Nicolson's performance in THE SHINING, but also
plays up to the kind of emotional turmoil you’d see Vincent Price enact in the
Poe films. Sure, it can be campy and a bit over-the-top, but that’s what makes
it work. Haulbrook makes you condemn Ronald and pity him at the same time. The
slight Southern twang in his voice is a nice touch too.
DEVILING is writer/director Sharpe’s follow-up to his 2010
short MONOMANIACAL, and he really knows his stuff when it comes to creating
atmosphere. He gives you the mood of an old Hammer film, but has his feet
planted in a modern sensibility. The composition and cinematography are
topnotch, with an excellent, subdued score by Alex Maudlin. No sloppy camera
movements or bad shadows that seem dominate indie filmmaking these days,
either. DEVILING gives you the pleasant experience of watching someone go
Read an interview with Sharpe (who also acts in other films
like DEVIL’S CROSSING) here and check out www.sharpeedgefilms.com for more info on upcoming DEVILING
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT NEWS, CONTESTS, EVENTS AND MORE!
All contents © 2011 Fangoria Entertainment