OF THE DEVIL *** USA 2022 Dir: Kelton Jones. 80 mins
Concerned about their son’s health, a mother (Daniela Palavacino) and her husband Ben (Jonathan Stoddard) are devastated to learn of a deadly disease he’s contracted that’s left him in a bad condition. Left with nothing else to do, they try to combat their son Alex’s (Lucas Sequeira) cancer diagnosis with an experimental procedure recommended to her by a friend (Eileen Dietz), but after undergoing the procedure his demonic change of behavior forces them to try to rid the spirit controlling him with a series of unconventional and deadly sequences.
This wasn’t too bad of a genre effort. One of the better features here comes from the rather tragic and heartbreaking setup that comes across as quite relatable for some families involving Alex being given such a debilitating prognosis and condition that stresses Norma to her decision to fight for her child’s life in the face of such horrific conditions. Given that kind of intriguing setup, the lead-in to the possession that occurs as a means to try out the experimental treatment to save him has a solid setup that also involves the demonic cult and the bizarre behavior exhibited by the cult once Ben unknowingly shows up at their compound to engage in the procedure. That allows the supernatural action here to come off quite well even within a series of cliched antics. The scenes following the surgery featuring the series of enhanced encounters within the house involving his newfound torturous behavior toward animals or the dissociative attitude towards his parents provide the perfect building blocks for later showcase setpieces to set up a big finale that revolves around the exorcism attempt to finally free Alex from the conflict between them. These factors are what hold this one up overall while there are some problematic aspects that show up here. Among the biggest issues here is the somewhat cliched and unoriginal setup that provides for a series of familiar sequences and plotlines that would’ve been more than enough to set people in motion to find help. It’s so late into the film that this all occurs as well that there’s little time to build up to any kind of impressive setup for the exorcism to take place which is the film’s lowest point.
Review by Don Anelli
OF THE DEVIL is available on Prime Video