Thursday, October 8, 2015

Devil Seed

You know what would be a great title for a movie?  "The Devil Inside."  In fact, it was a horror movie back in 2012, and a pretty huge success of one, considering it cost one million dollars to make and brought in over one hundred million dollars.

I think it might have been the impromptu success of that movie that caused Devil Seed to change its title from its original name, "The Devil In Me."  This movie also came out in 2012, and unlike the former movie mentioned, this one only brought in... well, it cost... huh.  I can't find any of the information regarding this movie online.  In fact, this movie doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

Truly we are in for a delight.

The movie starts in Boston in 1972, where a priest is attempting an exorcism on a young woman.  Now, I'm not a fully trained priest, but there are a few things I can't help but wonder about.  First off, does it work to have a cheap tape playing chants in the background?  Second, does the young woman's shirt need to be pulled open?  Third, should she be tied down with something better than cheap fabric scraps?

This priest was sure lucky that garage bin of used rags was handy, or he was going to use a glue stick to hold her arms down.

The young woman gets free and assaults the priest by banging his head down on the ground a few times then biting him.  Someone- you know, I don't know what happens here.  Someone else, perhaps, enters the scene?  Maybe it's the same guy?  Anyway, someone throws the girl back onto the bed and plunges a large wooden stake into her chest.

Again, I don't perform very many exorcisms, and never without someone with a lot more experience around, but have I been endangering myself by not keeping a large sharpened block of wood around to plunge into the poor person's body whose soul I'm attempting to save?

The police, who were apparently waiting just outside the door for their cue to enter in case things went wrong, burst in and arrest the priest for, man, I don't even know how you charge someone with that.  I think they might indicate there's a body on the ground, but it might be two bodies on the ground?  There's the young woman on the bed, but I have absolutely no idea how many people are or were present in this scene or what's going on any more as these are just snippets fed to us between opening credits.

Jump to now-ish, where we meet our lead character Alex, played by Michelle Argyris.

You might know her as "Finalist #1" on Scare Tactics, a Dr. Pepper commercial, or that one really bizarre(ly terrible) Biore ad.

Biore.  Because being beautiful is "hard."

She's returning home after spending time with her grandmother who, we're told over and over again, "has cancer."  She meets up at some kind of station with her best friend, Jessica, played by Shantelle Canzanese.  Now, I need to explain something up front.  Shantelle is a very attractive young woman.  However, between the lighting, the angle they shot her at, the "style" they decided her hair should be, and, well, everything else about this shot, the first time we see her, I thought she was supposed to be a zombie.

Now, I know I know that name from somewhere.  I just can't think of where I know her fr-

Oh crap, she voiced the female orc in Two Worlds II.

Jessica is there to drive Alex back to their "new place," a house "a heck of a lot bigger" than the last place they all lived at, and yet somehow the rent is "exactly the same."   There, we find the last roommate of these two women, Bree, played by Vanessa Broze.  I can't show a picture of her yet, because she's currently naked and having sex with Alex's boyfriend, Brian.

Once they realize that Brian's girlfriend is home after being gone "all summer," he quickly exits out a window, Bree goes downstairs to dismissively welcome her "friend," and Brian gets to show up at the front door without having been called or notified that his girlfriend is home so he can tell her how much he missed her.

If the movie was any less subtle about making her the "bitch" of the group, the word would be
spelled out on the fridge next to her head.
Alex gets to move into the attic, a place that apparently Bree was "too scared" to move into.  Jessica and Alex have a moment disparaging Bree's character, and then Brian manages to earn a second point in "being a massive jerk" by lugging Alex's bag up the stairs and asking if she "packed Grandma in it," because it weighed a ton.

"Hey, Alex, yo' granny's so fat that when her doctor said she has a tumor, she replied, "I love eating seconds!"  She's so dumb, she thought lymphoma was another word for orchestra!  Love you, baby!"

This guy is a tube of glitter away from being a terrible vampire boyfriend.  Yet somehow wussier-looking than Edward.
Jessica, Bree, Daniel, and Alex head out for a party before school begins, but Brian locks eyes with Bree across the party and they both decide to simply come up with weak excuses to leave so they can have sex again.  To be fair, Daniel's the only one who really tries to come up with a reason, Bree pretty much just goes "I'm a bitch, so peace out."

Jessica and Alex head home, but Jessica, in her total drunken stupor, decides the two need to visit a nearby psychic for a reading.   Inside, Jessica works on trying to be a person more unpleasant than Bree by first loudly announcing their entrance, then drunkenly fondling the psychic's possessions on a nearby table before the owner herself shows up and asks if she can help them.

Spoiler alert: if "kiss the monkey skeleton statue" is in your contract, you need a new agent.
The psychic agrees to do a psychic reading, even after Jessica refers to her as a "gypsy hippie - a gyppie" to her face, something that I'm....pretty sure is racist?  Half-racist?

Anyway, the two girls sit at the table with the psychic (how convenient that there's two chairs there and that there's no chance a larger group of people would want in), and she starts to read Alex's palm.  She figures out pretty quickly that Alex is an Aries and that someone in her life has cancer, and we get what's either some interesting attempts to make things spooky with shadows shifting on walls in the background or someone was adjusting a light in mid-scene.  Honestly, I'm not sure which it is.

The psychic claims she can speak to Alex's deceased mother ("Maggie"), and then says she senses someone else out there, too.  She tries to summon it so it makes itself known, and Alex has a ... for lack of a better word, "reaction" to the being that gets summoned.

The dramatic impact is lessened when you realized part of the noise she makes sounds like it was sampled from a Wilhelm Scream.

Alex wakes up in bed the next morning still in her dress with no memory of visiting the psychic at all.   Jessica, working off a different draft of the script, explains that the psychic was "reading from some cards" (didn't happen) and then everybody started freaking out and then her own memory gets fuzzy.  Clearly, this is an important lesson in the perils of over-consumption of alcohol, which is why Jessica declares she wants to get completely trashed again that same night.

So, let's discuss what we know about our characters so far.  Alex is boring, Jessica's a drunk, Bree's a terrible person, and Brian's a cheating douche.  We know just as much about the grandmother as we do these characters, and she hasn't even appeared on screen yet.

The movie tries to perform some jump scares on us that evening, having a TV turn on and off (with some shadowy figure moving behind the static), which disturbs Alex's attempts to read a Bible in peace, because "the boring good girl" hasn't been underlined enough in this movie.

There's also a noise upstairs that Alex investigates, which might sound creepy if it wasn't for the fact this house undoubtedly needs to settle in evenings.  Oh, and there's a window open upstairs.  But don't worry, it gets reaaaaalllly spooky when Alex discovers that her Bible has been moved from one table.....TO ANOTHER TABLE.

To be fair, anybody who decides "black couch" is a good design choice gets what they deserve.
There's one more brief pointless jump scare, and then we move ahead to Alex having difficulty sleeping as weird things whisper around her and her sheets get pulled in weird ways around her body.    I know this is all supposed to build tension so we know something evil is taking an interest in her, but so far all it's doing is killing time.

Next, we get the obligatory shower scene!  Alex discovers some strange scratches on her body...and then it's not addressed again before Alex starts attending classes.  Apparently demonic possession or something like that manifests in Alex drawing weird symbols on paper without looking at what her hand is doing.

Thrills!  Chills!  Doodles!
What's even more amazing is that some of the writing doesn't match the page from earlier in the scene.

Alex passes by a strange little girl in a playground on her way home from school, but again, it doesn't appear to mean anything.  Alex asks Jessica if she's heard any weird noises or has had any strange feelings about their new house, but Jessica dismisses all of Alex's concerns.  That night we get more weird sounds and doodles in books, this time without Alex even being in the same ROOM as a pen!

The next day leads to the same creepy girl, except this time the girl delivers Bree a warning of "he's coming for you" before mysteriously vanishing.  Brian suddenly shows up, and when Alex tries to confide in him about all the weird stuff happening to her, he's quick to dismiss it.  Because clearly, if she's looking at a book in the privacy of her own room one moment, steps outside her room to check out a weird sound, and then comes back to find the book filled with drawings and writings, "someone's just messing with her."

He does, however, volunteer to stay over "tomorrow night" to make sure nothing weird is going on.  However, that night, Alex (who I can't help but notice has a different pair of pajamas for every night) winds up traveling around the house without really seeming like she's "all there."  She shows up in Bree's room, startling the group "bitch" and freaking her out.  Jessica gets involved, and finds Alex back up in her room.  However, when she tries to touch Alex's shoulder, Alex twists around and says (with a deep male voice superimposed over hers), "Don't touch her!"

...then Alex goes back to bed.  And the next morning, Jessica and Bree are sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast and laughing like nothing happened.  When Alex comes down, Bree calls her a "freak" and leaves, and Jessica just seems puzzled that, once again, Alex doesn't remember anything.

Now, I like to think I'm a good friend to people.  So I'll say this, if at some point I'm living in the same place as someone I know and they start moving around at night and talking with more than one voice, I promise to immediately notify the authorities and be right by their side when help shows up to take them in for an examination.

Jess just lets Alex leave upset without trying to help her, and Alex starts an extensive Google Image Search of "demons" leading to the same graphic imagery that I think I saw in another video I watched recently.

The movie decides to display some text as Alex continues her Nancy Drew investigation, listing some symptoms of "demonic possession" that are almost verbatim how people have described strange things happening in the movie.  It's almost as if- hold on., if this is more than "girl kissing monkey skeleton" than we're going to have words.  By which I mean I'm going to find a wood chipper and Fargo your non-existent butt.

After another almost-scary moment in the library (the lesson I'm taking away from this film is that demons are simply juvenile jerks), Alex bumps into ... um, I'm not sure we've seen this person before.  I don't recognize him, but apparently Jessica is one of his students and she asked him to speak to Alex to make sure she's okay.

You know, instead of being their for her friend, Jessica got someone Alex has never met to try to talk to her.

Alex calls up Brian and asks him to come over.  Brian, naturally, is just past having sex with Bree again, and the World's Worst Boyfriend gets into a fight with The Group Bitch about whether Alex is "frigid" or just a "freak" for being a virgin.  Because of course she's a virgin, the movie is determined to make Alex the living embodiment of this picture:

Get it?  Get it?  Cause that's mud, you see, and it has- y'know what, never mind.
Alex shows off some of her cuts and scratches to Brian that night, and he immediately has her come over to him so he can examine the wounds.  He tells her she really needs to put something on them or see a doctor about them, and her response is "Why? So he can look at me the way my boyfriend does?"  Um, he's expressing actual concern, Alex.  It's the first time this whole movie he hasn't been a complete raging jerk and liar to you, and NOW is when you take offense to his behavior?

Now clearly in the face of a possible demonic possession, the answer is for these two to start making out and engage in heavy petting.  However, when Brian goes for more, the bed suddenly jerks out from under him.  This lets Brian resume being the biggest tool in the universe, where he first accuses Alex of faking the whole thing and cutting herself to drive him away and break up with him, and then suddenly the most important thing to Brian is "when are we ever going to have sex?"

Dude, a bed supporting YOUR weight and HER weight just shifted two feet to the left.  She's covered in deep cuts.  Clearly the topic of major concern here isn't whether or not you get to have sex with a hot blond AND brunette at the same time!

Brian, world's absolute worst boyfriend.  He's worse than Mario.  

Of course, it might mean something if Alex had remembered her line right when she accuses him of being an "ass *pause for a moment* hole."  Either she was trying to remember if "hole" came at the end of her line, or she tried to do a dramatic break in her speech to show she's upset instead of, I don't know, actually showing any expression besides "mildly perturbed."

Behold, the face of emotional anguish.  And the expression I get trying to watch Mike and Molly.
Brian leaves after telling Alex to "call him when she knows what she wants," which for a moment actually makes me think the demon is the real hero of this movie, because it got Brian to leave the scene.  This is immediately shot down when an invisible force pushes Alex onto the bed, pulls her shirt open and leaves badly CG-drawn marks and a hickey on her body.

Jessica finds Alex curled up in a robe on the couch downstairs, and when Jess discovers the wounds all over Alex's body, she attempts to convince her friend she needs to go to a hospital.  Alex, naturally, protests, which does NOT lead to Jessica saying, "Okay, I'll be right back," going downstairs, and calling 911 for her friend's own safety.

Jess instead decides its in Alex's best interests to take a bath (with her underwear on, apparently), and then go back to sleep IN HER OWN BED THAT Alex was assaulted on just hours before!  Alex doesn't resist being put back into her "rape bed," but instead just asks Jess to stay with her.  Jess agrees to "stay until you fall asleep."  Because clearly once Alex falls asleep, it all gets better.

I am seriously not going to shed a single tear if everybody in this movie dies.

Speaking of horrible deaths, Bree once again gets confronted by "not all there" Alex who ... appears to be peeing milk onto the floor and accusing Bree of being a "whore."  Jess finds Alex the floor.  The next day at the school, Jess talks to the professor about Alex's erratic behavior while Alex sits outside the room.

When Alex gets a turn talking to the professor, he's dubious, to say the least, that there's anything really weird going on other than "maybe she's hurting herself, perhaps?"  Of course, it doesn't help that Alex dances around the issue of what's happening to her, showing him the evidence of it instead of just flat-out saying "hey, I think I might be possessed, I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but please, my friend will tell you I'm not someone who seeks attention and this kind of behavior is way outside my normal way of acting."

Of course, the professor demonstrates he's also the worst at his job when Alex finally does confide in him, and he says with a big doofy grin "there's no such thing as demons!"  

But again, nobody contacts the authorities about a girl possibly cutting herself.

Alex finally goes and confronts the psychic that she never remembered seeing, and the psychic explains that whatever "it" is, it plans on using Alex to carry "its" child and unleash it upon the world.  It picked her because she's "pure."  The only alternative is apparently to just "kill herself."

The professor whose name we never learned stops by to visit his father, making me think we've wandered into a completely different movie.  Apparently the professor's father (I'm going to call him "Gibby McTongle" if the movie doesn't give me a name) used to be involved in possessions and exorcisms, but "doesn't do that any more."  The professor leaves, but lets Gibby McTongle keep Alex's textbook.  As Gibby reads through it, he starts getting flashbacks to Boston, circa, oh, probably the early 1970s.

Back at Alex's place, she's bringing in the big guns to help protect her from whatever this malevolent force is.

"When you saw only one set of footprints, it was because I bounced across the sand on this butt spring."
Brian shows up to apologize in the middle of Alex's attempts to turn her room into a shrine, and she immediately pounces on him hoping that if he "defiles" her it might mean the demon would leave her alone.  The demon interrupts them, and we get Alex being spun around in the air by wires (you can't see them, but you can recognize the weak dangling in mid-air).  When the two attempt to make a break for it during a quiet moment, they both manage to trip on the stairs, and Alex gets pulled back up them towards her room.  Brian makes a break for it.

Brian sadly is not immediately hit by a bus.

Jess gets home to find the front door wide open and the power out and does not immediately call the police to report a possible break-in.  Instead, she wanders into the dark house, where she finds Alex naked in the tub bleeding from cuts.

FINALLY, Alex gets taken to the hospital, where the doctor asks Jess a few questions about who could be responsible for the cuts, then states that since Alex isn't being cooperative, clearly the best solution is for her to GO HOME.   WHERE SHE WAS ATTACKED.  MORE THAN ONCE.  OR WHERE SHE CUTS HERSELF.

There is only one doctor in the history of cinema who is worse at being a doctor, and he a) was a robot, and b) diagnosed that a woman died after giving birth because "she lost the will to live."

So, an hour and thirteen minutes into this movie, we're back at the house again.  Jess and Alex get home and Bree seems startled by their presence.  She tries to find out what's going on with Alex, but Jessica dodges it by saying "she's fine" when, oh, I don't know, an extra set of eyes on Alex might be necessary.  She also warns Bree to let Jess know if she learns where Brian is and to "not let him in," but refuses to explain why Bree shouldn't have any contact with Alex's boyfriend.  No "we think he hurt Alex" or "the police are looking for him" or anything.  Jess, you're a terrible friend.

So Jess takes Alex back to her room that's still a mess from the last time a "demon" trashed it, and tries to get Alex to get some sleep.  The giant hand print on the wall doesn't influence her decision any, but it also appears that "spring butt Jesus" didn't survive the ordeal.

Bree attempts to call Brian, but Jess has Brian's phone (he dropped it as he ran away), and confronts Bree over Brian's infidelity.  She also states that she has Brian's phone because "he dropped it after raping Alex."   So...I guess that blood in the tub was supposed to be from her having been raped?  And the doctors didn't attempt to do a rape kit?  The police didn't send anybody to watch the house in case her attacker showed back up again?

In fact, the only person watching the house is Gibby McTongle, who apparently has changed his mind about "getting involved in that sort of thing."

Alex shows up in the hallway asking to sleep in Jessica's room, showing the first bit of intelligence that any character has had so far.

Jessica is dist- ....okay, that night Alex- ....okay, I'm going to just pay this out there.

Jessica wakes up in the middle of the night because a possessed Alex is performing oral sex on her.  There's a sentence I never thought I'd write.

Alex bolts when Jess reacts with a start, and Jess grabs Bree to try to get them both out of the house, but a brief delay from Bree about whether she needs her cell phone give Alex enough time to stroll up behind her, take hold of her, and rip out Bree's throat with her teeth in what I might give a "3 out of 10" when it comes to make-up, lighting, pacing, and Bree's reaction when Alex has her teeth dug into her neck.

"This is, like, so totally lame!  #syruponmyneck #mycareerisgoingnowhere"
 They attempt to make it more intense by having Bree bug out her eyes and doing some weird editing to the footage so it looks jerkier.  Maybe they sped it up, maybe they just cut every third frame, but whatever they did, it makes the whole thing look absolutely goofy.

Jessica meets up with Gibby McTongle outside, and he convinces her that she needs to wait in his car while he takes care of things.  This, in no way, could ever lead to Jess being kidnapped by a cartel and never seen again.

Gibby McTongle dons his holy garments and enters the house without a flashlight, because why would you want to see in a dark house at night, He confronts Alex on the staircase and attempts to start the exorcism.  Alex flees, but not before she opens her mouth and, "black dots on the screen" that I suppose are meant to be flies but look like parasprites.

As Gibby continues to follow after Alex, he discovers that Bree's body has been moved to her room and "WHORE" is scrawled across the walls in her blood.  Gibby continues through the house, eventually winding up in the attic where the two have a confrontation.  Gibby continues his prayers and chants, and Alex talks like her script got mixed up with Wolf Of Wall Street for how many swears she repeats within a minute.  

The demon declares that there's no saving Alex, at which point Gibby states "I didn't come to save her" and pulls out his stabbing knife again.  

...holy crap, that's actually a cool twist.  I'm going to put a single tick mark in the "neat" column for "things involving this movie."

Unfortunately, right when Gibby is about to put the smack down on a worried-looking demon, his son, the professor without a name (Gibby Jr?) shows up, letting Alex immediately collapse into tears like Gibby's been brutalizing her.  Alex takes advantage of the moment to kick Gibby's arm so he stabs himself in the side, then kills Gibby Jr in front of him with a move that...really doesn't make any sense.  

The priest manages to temporarily exorcise the demon from Alex, but it chases her out of the building and takes possession of her in the middle of the street...just in time for a car to plow into her.


But don't worry, the movie might have suddenly gone absolutely bananas there, but it turns out that nine months later Alex is giving birth to a healthy baby boy...while in a coma.  But don't worry, as the doctors are starting to cut into her to deliver her little bundle of (evil) joy, her eyes open.  Cut to bad rock music and ending credits.

This movie is awful.  It doesn't even name some of its characters, it jumps all over the place as it tries to pad out its 90 minute run time with cheap jumps, it introduces plot threads that have absolutely no meaning, and leaves so many questions unanswered.  What was with Alex seeing that creepy little girl?  Was the demon living in the attic until Alex showed up?  Was this story even taking place in Boston, or did the priest move after he somehow wasn't put in jail for killing a different girl?  Why didn't Brian get killed?  What did the police report say about a dead priest, professor, and roommate in Alex's house?  What happened to Jess?  Did she become a bad ass demon hunter of her own and a possible sequel would involve a confrontation with demon-possessed Alex before Jessica steals Alex's son, raises him for several years while on the run, and in the end redeems him by teaching him compassion and caring for others, leading to his phenomenal cosmic evil powers being turned to good?

Because I would so watch that movie!

This movie is to shot framing, lighting, make-up, camera work, character development, editing, acting, casting, directing, producing, script writing, set design, and, for all I know, catering services what Two Worlds II was to video games.  Seriously, Shantelle, you can get a better agent.  Nobody should have both this movie and that game on their resume.  Michelle, with some more training, I think you could be something.  Vanessa, honestly, the scenes you were in were some of the best ones.  

Pretty much the only characters I had any interest in seeing survive were Bree and the priest, and only because Bree may have been a lying, cruel person who was helping Alex's boyfriend cheat on her, but she at least had confidence and tried to act with some semblance of appropriate reactions to things.  The, I don't even know what was going on there.  I loved the twist of "I'm not here to save her," fully expecting him to either trap the demon in himself before killing himself or killing Alex and accepting jail time as his punishment/redemption for saving the world.  Again.

Side note: I find it telling that one of the songs on the soundtrack is called "An Accident Waiting To Happen."  That describes this whole movie, really.  Also, I'm not sure you need one song called "Crazy" and another called "Going Crazy."  Seems redundant.

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