ONE HELL OF A GOOD TIME
ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE (15)
Director: Ryan Lightbourn
Screenplay: Ryan Lightbourn
Review: RJ Bland
Once a film has finished pre-production and is considered 'complete', there is always a period of time before it is released onto audiences. A variety of factors come into play but securing some kind of distribution deal is usually the deciding factor. There are indeed some films that simply never accomplish this but reliance on a physical format (DVD/Blu-Ray) are fading. Streaming and VOD has opened things up for some indie film-makers - although admittedly there are other challenges with this method of distribution. One film to have recently popped up on a variety of digital platforms is Ryan Lightbourn's 80's inspired monster flick, All The Devils Are Here. Filmed in 2013 on a shoe-string budget, the film has already received some very favourable reviews on the festival circuit but still isn't on the radar of many horror fans. We tuned in to see if good things really do come to those that wait...
The film opens with the aftermath of a road accident somewhere in central Florida during the middle of the night. A prisoner transport vehicle has mowed someone down and as the two cops check to see if the hapless victim is still alive, it becomes clear that something or someone is watching them nearby amongst the trees. After they are attacked by an unseen assailant, we switch our attention to a group of friends who are on their way to a family holiday home in...guess where? Yep, sunny central Florida! Once there, the youngsters do what all people of their age do in horror movies. They drink, they talk shit, they have sex, they go skinny dipping and they eat some 'shrooms. Whilst they are enjoying the after affects of the latter, One of them wanders off into the woods to empty the contents of their stomach and sees something in the midst of the trees, watching him. He runs back to tell his mates but his account is met with derision. None of them take him seriously. One of the gang then goes on to tell the rest a story about a group of people called 'The Rainbow People'; a group of hippies turned cannibals who are rumoured to reside in the area and have been picking off tourists for the last few decades. The story is laughed off by the gang, but those laughs will later turn to screams...
The monster movie sub-genre has suffered in recent years, there's no denying that. Films such as The Descent and Jeepers Creepers have been big hits since the turn of the century but generally speaking, successful monster-flicks have been few and far between. Audiences tend to gravitate towards supernatural fare now but All The Devils Are Here is a timely reminder of why there is still a place for something a little bit toothier as it's pretty much a blast from start to finish. Which makes it all the more frustrating/baffling as to why it hasn't taken so long to get a release – three years is a pretty lengthy stretch by anyone's standards - but it's fair to say that it's been worth the wait. Sure, it's a bit trashy and coarse but that's part of the appeal and All The Devils Are Here is self-aware enough to understand what type of movie it is trying to be (and imitate) and the result is a thoroughly enjoyable 90 minutes, the kind of movie that is perfect for late-night viewing with friends and a few beers (or whatever you're drinking around midnight).
One of the biggest successes of All The Devils Are Here is that it feels and looks like a much more expensive and expansive movie than it ever should. Rumoured to have a budget of around the $30,000 mark, it's quite remarkable that Lightbourn and co managed to turn out such a technically accomplished feature. Visually it's a treat; it's bright and bold with snappy direction and knowing nods to the 80's and early 90's flick that it is clearly paying homage to. The creature design and practical effects are impressive too (you'd think the budget could have been spent on that alone!). Imagine if the crawlers from The Descent has been living above ground for the last hundred years or so. That's the kind of thing we're talking about. And the synthy score and electro soundtrack not only add to the campy sense of fun but also compliments the visuals. It's an odd mixture of filmic elements but somehow they mesh together pretty seamlessly.
Fortunately the technical accomplishments are matched by the sheer level of entertainment that All The Devils Are Here provides. Tonally, the film hits that sweet spot that all horror comedies are looking for. For those looking for monster action and blood and gore, there's plenty here to keep you sated. All The Devils Are Here actually takes a bit of time to focus on its central characters before the mayhem begins and it's quite refreshing to see a indie monster-horror let us explore the group dynamic a bit before you know, having half of them get eaten. The central performances are all solid too. Ben Owen is great as the jealous Brit and Dale DaBone brings something new to the table when introduced halfway through. But it's Doo Doo Brown that steals the show as Tre, the cynical foul-mouthed convict-on-the run. Lightbourne's script is razor sharp in places and Brown is afforded some of the best lines. When handcuffed to the back of a truck and left outside whilst his cohorts go inside a house for a chat, he angrily protests 'You motherf*ckers gonna seriously leave me out here? Like the f*cking goat from Jurassic Park?!
Of course All The Devils Are Here won't be everyone's cup of tea. Some may find the heady combination of 80's nostalgia, gross-out action and vulgar humour a bit unrefined but then if they've seen the trailer, they should know exactly what to expect! (it's a pretty amazing trailer). Sure, a few of the characters border on the generic and some may argue that it takes a little too long to 'get going'. However levelling those kind of gripes at a low-budget indie that's as enjoyable as this seems somewhat futile. If you can't have a good time with a film like All The Devils Are Here, you might well be a little bit dead inside. Our advice? Get together a group of like-minded friends and head off to sunny central Florida for a weekend!