The Devil Incarnate is a solid little debut horror

by Nav Qateel

Newlyweds Holly and Trevor Davidson are driving to Miami for their honeymoon. On the way they make a stop at one of the tourist attractions in Cassadaga, a place famed for its psychics. After being directed by a local man on where to find the best place for a tarot card reading, the couple go to the home of the crazy Vjestica, who screams at Holly and frightens her badly, causing the pair to run from the woman’s house. At this point, Holly isn’t aware she’s pregnant, but after the scary encounter, things start to go badly for Holly and the unborn baby. Holly also inexplicably starts acting strangely towards Trevor’s family with Trevor’s younger sister Marissa capturing everything on videotape.

The acting in The Devil Incarnate was first-rate with the three main protagonists doing a solid job. However, it was the two ladies who gave standout performances, with Graci Carli doing a wonderful job playing Holly, and Emily Rogers in only her second ever role, playing Marissa like she’d been acting for many years and not just since 2012, with this being shot in 2013.

The Devil Incarnate
Directed by
L. Gustavo Cooper
Graci Carli, Rod Luzzi, Emily Rogers
Release Date
7 October 2014
Nav’s Grade: C+

The Devil Incarnate opens with Marissa in a police station being questioned by cops and on the table in between them is the video-camera. A tearful Marissa tells the story of how her brother and his wife end up in their predicament. Trevor asked Marissa to record a lot of the events, like the baby shower and basic family stuff so the film is a mix of hand-held and standard footage, which blend together rather well and add to the overall effect. It also gives a lot of the film a more personal touch, which is exactly the point most of these current no-budget found-footage efforts completely miss. Director L. Gustavo Cooper understands this and puts it to very good use in this, his surprisingly mature debut. Cooper has another film due out pretty soon titled June, which I’ll be very keen to see.

As well as Holly beginning to act more bizarrely and getting progressively worse by the day, and doing things like feeling up her father-in-law’s privates, plus attacking her aunt who turned up unannounced to the baby shower, the gay Marissa also has a huge crush on Holly. When the girls have the obligatory lesbian scene together, Holly starts talking in a weird language which totally freaks Marissa out. Marissa finally gets through to Trevor that there’s something connected to their stop at Cassadaga that’s causing the problem, however, when they drive out to try and find Vjestica’s house, it appears to be gone. Trevor finds the man who directed them there in the first place and ends up enlisting his help.

While there are a few obvious problems with The Devil Incarnate that could put the casual horror fan off, like the way too many things are left to the imagination or only partially explained, and made certain scenes feel incomplete. I’m all for a film that doesn’t spoonfeed the audience which is something too many horror-films are guilty of these days, and along with the great performances in The Devil Incarnate, I found those to be among the film’s best traits. The Devil Incarnate allowed that we’d be intelligent enough to fill in the blanks ourselves without the need to hold our hands throughout the film.

While we’ve seen this sort of story before–possessed and cursed pregnant mother–there are more than enough original touches to keep things interesting. The pacing was also well handled, delivering us from A to B with just the right momentum. I did, however, feel there was enough material to offer better explanations for certain things. Just one example would be why Holly’s aunt and the doll mattered so much, and why it made Holly so crazy.

The Devil Incarnate is a solid little debut horror that’s well worth checking out. With some truly great acting and an interesting story, most horror aficionados will find something to appreciate. I really was impressed by the incredibly talented newcomer Emily Rogers and also with the lovely Graci Carli, who gave such a strong performance. Rod Luzzi put in a good performance as the concerned Trevor, and like the ladies, Luzzi shows a lot of promise. As far as the audience goes, not having everything explained will rule out casual horror gore hounds but for those of you who like to use their noggins, The Devil Incarnate is a very rewarding little film.