In his first feature-length film Joseph O’Brien wears a number of hats. He wrote, directed, produced (and worked as visual effect supervisor) on “Devil’s Mile” a film that was all about deja vu and where a single decision leads a protagonist to make the day run its course all over again. This film a slightly reminiscent of the 2009 Melissa George film “Triangle” and owes quite a lot to the 2003 horror film “Dead End” as well.
In fact the tale of three dysfunctional kidnappers who take two Japanese girls, one of whom is the wrong target, and how their long night heads straight downhill, borrows from a number of other films in the genre.
Maria del Mar and Casey Hudecki are cellmates Cally and Jacinta respectively, along with David Hayter (who used to voice Solid Snake in the video game “Metal Gear Solid”) and all three argue, bicker and annoy the literal hell out of one another at the start of the film setting themselves up for failure from the word go.
While there are some truly scary moments in the film, that Japanese ghost girl is pretty horrific in a CG Ju-on/Ringu sort of way, and Hayter is good for a couple of scares later on.
There are plot-holes. The van is never really explained and the mumbo-jumbo being spouted on the video tape playing in the vehicle just sounds rambling and nonsensical. There are flashbacks, or flash-forwards, that only make sense later and (back to that van again) the “driver” that Cally and Jacinta encounter is illogical and never explained.
(Granted the scene where the two women meet the scary driver, is one of the funniest, and perhaps most real, in the entire film. When Cally discharges her weapon that second time, it is a really laugh out loud moment.
Hudecki (who has done almost as many stunts as she has acting jobs) stands out in her performance of kidnapper with a secret. Veteran actress del Mar is spot on as the older cellmate who developed “mama hen” feelings for Jacinta.
Another veteran performer Frank Moore is Mr. Arkadi; the scary crime boss who is world weary and ruthless with it. The only let down is, somewhat surprisingly, Hayter. The actor has a slew of credits to his name as voice over actor in the video game world and yet his performance lacks something in this film.
“Devil’s Mile” will not win any awards but it does entertain. There are some surprising moments a couple of twists and despite a somewhat verbal false ending, it is not a bad film at all.
The FX are a bit uneven but the blood looks very convincing and that Japanese dead girl is pretty impressive in a Playstation 2 sort of way.
Overall this is a 3.5 star out of 5. It tries to be a bit too clever and loses something in translation as a result. Had Hayter not been so annoying as the tough nut leader the film might have worked better, but to be honest, the actor has moments that do work pretty well.
Available on Amazon Prime to stream it is worth a look. It is, however, nothing to get too excited about.