DIRECTOR Alex Wright WRITER Alex Wright STARS Bobby Campo; Nazneen Contractor; Chris Olivero DVD Now
REVIEW Chris Costa
One day filmmakers will be able to introduce their student protagonists without the obligatory college campus camera pan complete with rock music accompaniment, but as far as this well-trodden tale of teens meddling with the occult goes, originality is not its gift.
We first meet young student psychic, Eva (Nazneen Contractor), performing a Tarot reading on good Christian girl, Sara (Devon Ogden); the final card is, unsurprisingly, the Devil. “It’s not the Devil,” Eva reassures her, despite the card saying otherwise, “it’s the God Dionysus. He’s the God of pleasure and abandon.” Not two words that fit this film, the story hinging on a bet between Eva and ex-flame Joey (Bobby Campo), an arrogant punk-band singer who believes her psychic claims to be nonsense. Insisting she can prove otherwise, they prepare to hold a séance at a funeral parlour where another friend — wannabe documentarian, Marcus (Chris Olivero) — works as a security guard, the four aiming to either prove or debunk Eva’s claims once and for all.
No sooner have they arrived than Joey is acting the ass, dabbing his joints in embalming fluid, admiring the breasts on the female cadavers and pummelling Eva and Sara with his bad-tempered, atheistic outbursts. Furthermore the séance invokes a less than friendly spirit that is drawn to his negative energy, Joey becoming host to the malevolent spirit in the process. Armed with a bible and holy water from the in-house chapel, Eva and Sara prepare to exorcise him, the demon taunting them and even throwing in a bit of post-Exorcist dirty talk: “I used to fuck your Grandmother in hell,” he spits in a moment of eye-rolling banality.
Despite the potentially ominous setting, this is a lethargic outing augmented by lifeless direction. Marcus’ hand-held footage is hardly used, while a moment of Evil Dead style corridor crawling from the approaching spirit demonstrates the lack of original ideas. Some perfunctory gore tacked onto the climax also does little to tackle the general malaise. The cast are passable; Campo (who proved pretty likeable in The Final Destination) goes some way to liven up proceedings, hamming it up as the possessed Joey (wait for the ridiculous moment of shirt-ripping machismo), but they’re working with a clunky, leaden script.