What starts out as a typical Japanese-inspired thriller becomes a haunting film that concludes with a satisfying horror book ending.
Devil’s Mile begins as an unimpressive and unoriginal film from writer/director Joseph O’Brien, bordering on being cliché. I mean, they even have a creepy store guy who warns you not to continue. It isn’t until about halfway through the movie before the story begins to truly get interesting and takes on new life. The ending though was the payoff for viewers like me.
The story is basically a long flashback about three kidnappers trying to meet up their boss (played well by Frank Moore). Unfortunately, the three find themselves stuck on a stretch of road which is seemingly punishing them for their sins. Interspersed through this main plotline, we see segments where the boss is torturing one of the surviving kidnappers.
Casey Hudecki did a fine job portraying this survivor. But remember, it isn’t until the story’s end that you fully get to understand and appreciate her performance as this character. David Hayter and Marie Del Mar put in decent performances as the other two kidnappers as well. And despite short air time, Amanda Joy Lim and Samantha Wan had good showings as the two kidnapped women. I really enjoyed the van scene best though, where Del Mar and Hudecki’s trapped characters finally open up about themselves.
The special effects were not overdone in this film. This is good, because some of the computer effects didn’t quite look that real to me. I really loved the demon though. Shara Kim’s demon was certainly creepy and twisted to watch. But the sound was truly the highlight of the effects. I listened to the audio with headphones, and the sounds were chilling and surreal, worthy of its nod to J-Horror films. I could just imagine what this would sound like on a full entertainment system.
There are many people that will commend this film for its artistic approach and ending, and there will be just as many people condemning it for not being worth your time. And honestly, this movie wasn’t really scary. But most horror films are not “scary”, at least to everyone. Horror is subjective. This is probably why some people think jump scares are scary. To me though, jump scares are simply startling, and not something that unnerves me. Being a fan of those thought-provoking-wow-I-now-need-to-review-that-scene-again style productions though, I tend to place this movie more into the like column.
So, I give Devil’s Mile 3.0 out of 5.