Directed by Greg Olliver.
Starring Marta Milans, Kara Jackson, Tyler Hollinger and Bruno Gunn.
An intense, troubling film, recording with cold, clinical precision the gradual descent into madness.
Finding anything official on the web about Devoured is rather difficult which is odd as in this film there is a great story as well as some unexpected jumps which force your heart to leap a foot out of your rib cage. In all, it’s the perfect horror film for me. My early life was occupied by horror films which I shouldn’t have been watching at the age of eight and so I enrolled my eldest daughter (15), to watch it with me. I reasoned that if I arrived at the end and thought it was tripe I could take a view from someone not so de-sanitized to horror. Come the end however I didn’t need her there – Devoured was more than capable of scaring the bejebus out of me and at the same time providing a good story to keep me interested.
My next paragraph contains an ever so slight spoiler so if you plan on watching the film anytime soon you may wish to ignore it.
Riffing off The Tell-Tale Heart we follow the daily monotonous, empty life that Lourdes (Marta Milans) occupies, working all hours so she can pay for her son’s operation who currently lives a great distance away with her mother. Lourdes wakes before dawn to clean the restaurant where she works then sleeps during the day before returning for the evening shift to tend tables and pander to the needs of the venom filled manageress (Kara Jackson) and the wandering hands of chef (Tyler Hollinger). Through the film, male patrons smelling her desperation coerce her into performing sexual favours for cash; this money is then sent back to her son, and her only ray of light is an off-duty Fire Officer (Bruno Gunn). However, problems soon arise from figures appearing behind her, hands grabbing her from empty lockers or following an image of her own self through the bowels of the restaurant, all of these things slowly dragging Lourdes into insanity.
With such a very small number of cast members this film could have clearly been a bit of an embarrassment for the stars who could have struggled with the weight of the film on themselves alone, but they didn’t. All handling their roles amazingly well, keeping you engrossed and holding your breath as scenes play out. The story and direction was excellent. Opening with the death of a main character we are allowed to see, for the first 10 to 20 minutes or so, how soulless the life Lourdes currently occupies is, alongside the work she does to earn and send money to pay for her sons operation.
Often we aren’t allowed to see build ups like this in horror films, but the lonely life she leads slowly burns away so that when the first introduction of the supernatural happens you are genuinely taken back by it. It’s so subtle I never noticed it; my daughter jumped and said, “that bag just moved!” and it did too. For this work I thank Greg Olliver (director) and Mark Landu (writer) for treating me like a person of some intelligence.
As mentioned above I have been watching horror films now for at least thirty years, and for this reason I had added 2+2 and gotten to 4 about halfway through the film; though my daughter didn’t and she was held hostage by the story right until the final moments. My ability to see how the story would unfold isn’t a negative towards the film. I struggle to find a negative – if anything it was that it seemed a little short, but even that is being picky.
An excellent horror, you’d do well buying Devoured as you pass it on the shelf.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★ ★
Villordsutch is married with kids and pets. He looks like a tubby Viking and enjoys science fiction. Follow him on Twitter.