Stacey Valdez

Movie Review: Max Perrier's FEED THE DEVIL

Marcus (Jared Cohn, PERNICIOUS) is your typical scummy dude with a bad attitude who's looking for easy money.  Him and his girlfriend, Stella (Victoria Curtain), find it in the form of a map that leads them to a marijuana crop in the remote Alaskan wilderness.  Set off on their expedition with Stella's sister, Lydia (Ardis Barrow), what should have been an easy job turns deadly when Stella goes missing and they uncover the Native American myth that could be behind her and many others' disappearances. 

This was a tough one, y'all.  With an interesting sounding concept I was hoping that Max Perrier's FEED THE DEVIL was going to be a fun, little flick.  Unfortunately I was met with mostly unlikable characters, a shaky script, and sluggish pacing. 

I think my main and biggest issue with FEED THE DEVIL were the characters - particularly Marcus. I understand that he's meant to be an unsavory type of fellow, but if he's your lead, and someone that us viewers should be feeling some type of connection with, I'd hope for some redeeming qualities at least.  And this is more of a script problem, but when every other word that came out of Marcus's mouth was a very hearty "FUCK" or variation of the word, it tends to take away from my interest in whats going on.  It's not really a swearing issue (trust me, I'm like a sailor) but it just felt super unnecessary and came off distracting. Plus, I probably could have done without the racist lines in the film.  Everyone else in the film did a well enough job, including Barrow as the tag-along sister, considering she gets about as much screen-time as Marcus does. 

Whether Perrier was going for it or not, I did appreciate the "cannibal movies from the 70's" vibe I was getting in the last act.  There were some gross-out moments in those scenes and was a nice change from the kind of crawling pace of the movie.  The pacing was something I mentioned earlier that was a bummer for me; it creeped along for me despite the fact that there was never much down time for the characters. 

The cinematography was actually pretty good, but they severely underutilized the beautiful landscape they were shooting in (I believe it was Canada?).  We mostly had shots of the interior of the woods, but when we finally saw a sprawling bit of land and a river, I wished there was more of it. 

I might be a little bit more forgiving than usual just because it's only Perrier's second feature film and first horror, I do think some people will find something in FEED THE DEVIL to enjoy, but for me, I think the bad is going to outweigh the good on this one.

Stacey Valdez 

Stacey Reviews Andy Palmer's "Badlands of Kain"

Two girls on a cross-country road trip in their clearly less-than-reliable VW bug - what could go wrong?!  As you'll quickly learn in the latest directorial effort from The Funhouse Massacre's Andy Palmer, this adventure was doomed from the start.  

Shannon (Rachelle Dimaria) and Kris (Katrina Norman) head out on a road trip to re-kindle their friendship but don't get very far before their car breaks down right outside of a sleepy, little town called Kain.  After calling for help, tow truck driver Terry (Super Troopers Paul Soter) arrives and takes them back to Kain for the night while their car is being fixed.  Upon meeting several of the odd residents of town, they soon realize things aren't what they seem and getting out will be a lot harder than they ever expected.

While it's not exactly the most original of storylines, Badlands of Kain is a pretty fun watch that feels like a modern, extended episode of The Twilight Zone.  I can imagine that some viewers would find cause to complain regarding the predictability of the movie but the story (written by Dimaria) and the way it was presented was done in a way that didn't feel like it was rushed or churned out to be just another thriller.  

The pacing (coming in at 1hr 48min) is a bit noticeable but never in a bad way; it only helps accentuate the sense of unease that you feel as you're waiting on the big reveal because you know it's coming, and you know what it probably is, but you don't know when it's all going to go down.  Don't get me wrong, this isn't some brooding, dark thriller (it's creepy, for sure), there are plenty of moments that felt lighter than others.  Perhaps they were a way of keeping you from fully figuring it all out too early on - in any case, it all just worked. 

On the subject of the cast, the two female leads were a good choice but Norman's character, Kris, was pretty much unlikeable the entire time, but I think that might have been how they wrote her in.  Her actual acting felt a tad over-the-top at times, but it's largely forgivable because Dimaria as Shannon held it up just fine.  Paul Soter's main work in comedy might have actually helped the role more than expected.  Of course, we all know him as the "meow guy" from Super Troopers, so to see him in a "bad guy" role was definitely different and it showed he's capable of diverse characters other than the goofy, likeable dude (he still was a little likeable in Kain).  The supporting characters, including Terry's brother, Mack (Jordan Belfi), all had something to lend to the movie and none really felt unnecessary. 

Badlands of Kain probably won't be your favorite movie of the year, but it's one I won't feel bad about telling you that you should watch this week. 

Stacey Valdez