A film you need to invest yourself in but is ultimately worth it…
Devoured is by and large a by-the-book formulaic horror-film, yet, once you settle in to Greg Olliver’s lazy style, it holds you. It’s not what you would call gripping or anything, but the fact that it has been well made and very well acted doesn’t hurt one bit. Documentary-filmmaker Greg Olliver, isn’t a stranger to narratives with his only other being made back in 2002, but his skill is undoubtedly there. What was somewhat lacking at times in Devoured were that after some decent build-ups, we was treated to tepid, predictable scare attempts. Not all were like that, but sadly, they were in the majority.
However, Olliver did still do a respectable job of keeping up the suspense, and helping guide the lovely and talented Marta Milans in her first starring role. In fact, if not for her solid performance, Devoured would have been a lesser film by half, because this low-budgeteer hinged on her portrayal as the homesick mother, Lourdes. The entire film, aside from a small part at the opening and close, is from her point of view. She is looking through eyes that see all men, bar one, Friendly Frankie, as misogynists and sex-starved droolers, who only wanted to paw her bod, indeed, a very sexy bod, but some may find it a tad off-putting because of this, but it was key to the story.
The film starts with a dead woman lying inside the entrance to a restaurant. The woman, we soon learn is Lourdes, who has been discovered by staff about to open up for the day. The cops are called and they begin to investigate and look about the premises, and when one of them reach the very back storage room, we see a look of dawning horror appear on the detective’s face.
We then roll back several weeks and see Lourdes going through the motions of working hard, and saving as much cash as she can for her sons operation. Lourdes has come to the US from Mexico to earn as quickly as possible, but then she starts to see things move around that shouldn’t, or imagines she’s talking to her friend or her son. We catch glimpses of ghosts too, accompanied by quick screeches from a violin (or similar) in attempts at scaring us.
Lourdes calls home a lot, speaking to her mother or son, and when it’s Oliver’s birthday, she sings to him over the phone. While working in the restaurant, she catches the chef and manageress having sex, and is told by her boss in no uncertain terms, what will happen to her if she talks, or that her hands will be cut off if she makes a play for the chef. This doesn’t stop the chef from pursuing Lourdes every chance he gets, or other customers, for that matter.
I was beginning to tire of it all and was sure I had it all figured out but got a halfway decent surprise instead. Nothing that warrants a standing ovation, but for those that haven’t seen it all before, will surely get a lot out of Devoured. If like me, you have seen it all before, then you do at least get to enjoy a $1.5 million indie, thats been put together rather well, but just doesn’t add anything to this already saturated genre.
Review by Ed Blackadder, Lead Entertainment Writer
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