THE DEVIL KNOWS HIS OWN
First of all I would like to thank Jason Hawkins, director of the psychological indie horror film “The Devil Knows His Own”, for allowing me to view the film before it’s official release cheers! The film is about Jessica and Ethan Ray, who have lost touch with each other over the years, after having experienced years of torment by their cruel grandmother. Their grandmother has just passed away so the siblings and their partners reunite at the house they grew up in to sort out the will. Shortly after they arrive at the house they begin to experience strange hallucinations. They are told by a priest that the house contains a malevolent force that feeds on the fears of those inside. This one stars Dara Davey, Patrick D.Green, Natasha Timpani and Alicia Rose.
This psychological horror is the third of Jason’s films. I haven’t seen any of his previous work, so this was a fresh look at a brand new director. I liked the casting choices he made for Jessica and Ethan, they had good chemistry as brother and sister. The film has some wonderful smooth camera work and mint editing. These two aspects are very rare in an indie horror film. For those who are wondering, I think this was made for around $50,000. I also really enjoyed most of the score, along with some of the harsh but effective sounds throughout the more suspenseful scenes. One particular scene was shot for shot edited and had a sound effect that built and built and made me jump right out of my seat. The introduction to Jessica and Ethan was really well written too. Each of them had a segment at the start of the film to build the basis of their characters before they cross paths with each other later in the film. It’s mostly conveyed through conversations with their partners that give us some insight into their childhood and upbringing. You get a nice look at the masks that the two were made to wear when they were younger, they were pretty scary looking things. The film has only a small amount of blood and gore (so don’t judge it from the artwork). A scene in the last 5 to 10 minutes has a character tearing layers of skin off his face, nasty stuff.
The Devil Knows His Own is not without its issues though. The technical aspects of the film are mostly commendable. However, the opening scene was very dark, I’m assuming this was on purpose. Otherwise there would be no reason to shoot Jessica’s face in the dark during her therapy session. I didn’t find that it added anything to the film or her character in being introduced that way. The dialogue is also very inconsistent. In the beginning I found it hard to hear a few things but in several other scenes the dialogue was pitchy and peaked out. It was most noticeable when someone was screaming. The acting for the most part is pretty good. A few of the scenes felt a little bit forced though. Ethan has a breakdown at one point and he has to get pretty emotional and I thought that it fell a little flat. At times it also feels a little disjointed, maybe a little unsure of what it wants to be. I wasn’t sure about the relevance of the white room with the drawings either. I can only assume it was a memory or maybe part of the house trying to manipulate our protagonists, I didn’t think it was all that clear. I can’t be too disappointed about the lack of scares and or gore because I now realise that wasn’t Jason’s aim with the story.
I think Devil Knows His Own has a lot of positive aspects that are really well done. I really liked the ending, I thought it was sad but disturbing in a really cool way. If you like slow-burn, psychological horror films more so than the blood and gore related flicks, this is definitely worth a watch. Everyone knows I call movies as they are, however films on a low-budget are difficult to get right. This one gets enough right to make it worth while, support Jason Hawkins and his future works.
My rating for “The Devil Knows His Own” is 5/10