Friday, December 19, 2014
THE DEVICE (2014) DVD review
The Device (2014) d. Jeremy Berg (USA)
Movies about extraterrestrial visitors never seem to go out of style, and Seattle-based quadruple threat (writer, producer, director, cinematographer) Berg delivers a pleasantly lo-fi effort that elicits favorable comparisons to The X-Files in terms of claustrophobia, conspiracy, and out-of-the-kit creature effects.
Two estranged sisters visit their parents’ lakeside cabin to scatter the ashes of their recently deceased mother, with the younger, Rebecca (Kate Alden), still potentially suffering effects from being “kidnapped” several years prior. Despite Abby (Angela DiMarco) and her workaholic husband Calvin (David S. Hogan) best efforts to keep an eye on her, Rebecca wanders off one morning and comes across a black spherical object located near the wreckage of some kind of craft.
Seeing the metallic ball as a ticket to untold riches, Calvin pockets it and brings it home against the ladies’ protests; in the days that follow, he will become increasingly obsessed with his newfound treasure while Abby suffers increasingly disturbing visions of a strange humanoid figure lurking in the shadows.
While the script, co-written by Berg and producer John Portanova, occasionally suffers from clumsy exposition and the annoying habit of the characters constantly referring to each other by name (“Look, Abby.” “What is it, Calvin?”), The Device is quite well-shot and professional-looking top to bottom. The three main performances skillfully cover a wide emotional range, and old-school monster kids will appreciate the throwback approach employed in depicting the interstellar menace. Even though there aren’t a lot of genuine scares, fans of alien abduction tales will appreciate the estimable creep factor and fine craftsmanship on display.
The DVD and Blu-ray, now available from RLJ Entertainment, includes three commentary tracks from the filmmakers, actors, and Fire in the Sky screenwriter Tracy Tormé.
--Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound Magazine