Dir: Pat Higgins
Starring – Debbie Attwell, Chandrika Chevli, Richard Collins
Run Time – 97 Minutes
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The Devil’s Music is a mockumentary (or rather a mock-rock-umentary) which strays into found footage territory. The film ends up suggesting that (MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT WHICH NEGATES YOU WATCHING THE ENTIRE MOVIE, BUT WHICH CAN’T REALLY BE AVOIDED NOW I’VE DRAFTED AN ENTIRE ARTICLE LIKE THIS) Satan is an ex-member of a boy band. Shock! Horror! Could it really be true? I think anyone who’s ever been exposed to Robbie Williams knows the answer to that…..
If you’re after a rip-roaring, gore-soaked thrill ride, then I’m afraid The Devil’s Music is not for you. Featuring a lot of talking heads, it’s not really a horror movie per se, but more a dark drama. Having said that, fans of independent British horror will recognise a few familiar faces, perhaps most notably James Fisher from The Zombie Diaries (2006) and numerous other genre projects.
The Devil’s Music is made up of two main components; video footage from the last tour of now missing shock-popper, Erika Spawn and the previously mentioned talking head sequences of Erika’s associates pontificating on the past and, in particular, her feud with holier than thou ex-boyband member, Robin Harris. The film is ultimately based around the big reveal of Harris’ real identity, which is a playfully humorous premise, although sometimes slow moving.
A suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience is required in parts, not least in scenes of Harris (supposedly the biggest pop star in the country) “singing”. The dialogue often appears to be improvised, which sometimes leads to awkward exchanges and difficult viewing, but at other times results in some natural and impressive monologues to camera from the “interviewees”.
Numerous story strands involving Erika Spawn’s entourage and their relationships and interactions with each other, as well as the bizarre behaviour of Spawn herself, will keep you guessing as to where the plot is heading, but the movie is not woven tightly enough to fully enfranchise the audience as mystery solvers, so when the final denouement is presented from straight out of left-field, you may find yourself feeling cheated (except you won’t, because I’ve already ruined it for you in the second sentence of this review. As Grandpa says in The Lost Boys, “If you’ve got the TV guide, you don’t need a TV”).
A humorous premise, an interesting concept for presentation and enough familiar character types to make any indie / metal kid cringe, mean that The Devil’s Music is worth a watch. But it does have the pace of a tortoise pulling a steamroller and has an amateurish feel at times. In a battle of movies with “The Devil’s….” titles, I’d place it ahead of The Devil’s Rejects, but that might be damning with faint praise.