Monday, March 5, 2012

'Demon Kiss' is flawed but watchable

Demon Kiss (2010)
Starring: Sally Mullins, Elizabeth Di Prinzio (aka Jessica T. Perez?), Sebastian Gonzales, and Jamie Macek
Director: Dennis Devine
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

A demon goes on a bloody killing spree, thinning the roster of an escort service while moving from body to body while searching for the reincarnated Mary Magdalene, the "mother of all whores." Meanwhile, a police detective (Gonzales) and the "psychoanalyst to the working hooker" (Mullins) are desperately trying to identify who the serial killer is and stop him.

"Demon Kiss" is a movie I should come down on like a ton of bricks. Its director, Dennis Devine, has helmed better movies (with "Caregiver" from 2007 springing immediately to mind); the cast is mostly community theatre-level when it comes to both acting skills and acting styles; the production was so cash-starved that the gore effects are weak and almost no effort was made to hide the fact that the same room is recycled as different locations, and the theological and historical under-pinnings of the story are so shaky that it made my old-time Humanities Major heart cry out in pain.

Despite all those negatives, however, the film held my attention... and that's saying a lot these days when I'm being pulled in all kinds of directions by non-movie related demands. I can't quite put my finger on what made this movie more entertaining than annoying, but the fact that ten minutes didn't go by without a attractive woman getting naked was part of it.

Another part was, despite the fact that the tired cliche of a "hooker with a heart of gold, looking for a way out of the profession" was joined with the slur that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute was one part of the script that stuck in my craw more than anything, was that Elizabeth Di Prinzio (or Jessica T. Perez in some credits listings) gave such a good performance that I wished she'd had more screen time. I was interested in seeing how things turned out for this character, especially with all the references in the film to Jesus having returned to Earth and that they two of them were fated to meet again. (And this is the demon's plan: possess the reincarnated Mary and thus later possess the reincarnated Jesus. Not a very good plan, but still a plan... which is impressive given how stupid and shortsighted this demon is portrayed as.)

A fun, over-the-top performance by Jamie Macek as a demon-possessed homicide detective was also something I found entertaining. He gives viewers a villain to hate even when he's not possessed by the demon.

The rest of the cast, as I mentioned above, are about par for the course for movies at this budget level, including the lead actress Sally Mullins (who also produced the film and co-wrote the script with Devine), but none are downright awful--a couple are borderline, but they were obviously hired for their boobs and tattoos rather than acting talent. But with the two fun performances to lift the film up, everyone else is passable.

The only things that keep this film from getting a Five rating from me instead of the low Four it has now is that Devine and Mullins weren't very adept in hiding their sources of inspiration for the story. I'm not talking about Bible sources, but rather films like "Fallen" and "The Exorcist" and/or low-rent rip-offs like "Eerie Midnight Horror Show". Not hiding your sources becomes a danger when the audience keeps thinking how the source borrowed from is better than what we are currently being subjected to... and it becomes downright fatal when the movie's climax is one that has been done better many, MANY times over. And to make matters worse, the whole bit with Jesus walking the Earth and Mary Magdalene being reincarnated never really pays off... and the obligatory "shock twist ending" pretty much established that it never will.

In the end, "Demon Kiss" stands as a deeply flawed but watchable film... assuming you don't mind boobs and gore mixed in with a weakly conceived theological horror plot.

1 comment:

Craig Edwards said...

I'm all for boobs and gore mixed with just about anything in a movie. I'll keep one eye out for this one...