Director: Christian E. Christiansen
Starring: Rufus Sewell, Alycia Debnam Carey, Adelaide Kane, Leah Pipes, Thomas McDonell
Forgive me father for I am sin
The Devil’s Hand, or Where the Devil Hides, The Devil’s Rapture or The Occult as it has also been titled before getting its release, had its world premiere at the Danish horror film festival Blodig Weekend (translated into… Bloody Weekend), which I was lucky enough to attend this year. The film originally wrapped up production back in 2013 and has been pushed back several times before now getting a limited theatrical release in October this year.
The film takes place in a secluded Amish community of New Bethlehem. The village fears that the prophecy of the dark will take place when six children are both on the sixth day of the sixth month to different mothers. The elders in charge wants to slaughter all the newborns but are convinced by Jacob Brown, the father of one of the children, that they have nothing to fear.
When the 18th birthday of the five (one was killed by her own mother after birth) young girls are approaching, they start to end up missing one by one. The village start to fear that this is caused by the prophecy and starts to distance themselves from them. On the 18th birthday, the true revelation of who’s really responsible for the disappearances will be unfolded.
I don’t know that much about the Amish community and therefore I was expecting something new with this film. Perhaps a new religious prophecy that had something new to tell regular watchers of horror films? It should be able to deliver a new setting, as a small Amish community hasn’t been utilized in a lot of previous horror films, the closest I can think of on top of my head is the “Gender Bender” episode from The X-Files.
Sadly, none of these things are used to make this film stand out. Instead we get a supernatural slasher that could just as easily have been set in a suburban neighborhood. You could argue that this is done on purpose to show that the Amish are just the same as “the rest” of us, but I was hoping to see more unique characters instead of characters that could just as well have been from a Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer movie.
That’s not to say that there isn’t good performances in the film. Although her character Mary is pretty much shaped after Sidney from Scream, Alycia Debnam Carey does do a sufficient job with her part. Rufus Sewell plays the routinely part of the concerned father quite well. However I think they could have done a better casting job with the character Elder Beacon as Colm Meaney didn’t do too much with the role. I would have prefered the character to have more insanity to him instead of just coming off as ruthless.
The film was directed by the Danish director Christian E. Christiansen, who had a success with The Roommate and is also known for his drama film Råzone (Life Hits) here in Scandinavia. There is not that much I have to say about his work here as the film pretty much looks and plays out like a typical studio production from America, there isn’t that much personality inserted into it that I can spot out.
It just lacks creativity, both when it comes to providing scares (and forget about blood as this is a very tame film) or a unique storyline. It does pace along decently enough so that it never becomes a boring affair, but it also has an end twist that are just terrible, followed by an even more terrible ending to the entire film.
So will The Devil’s Hand become a success once it finally is released in cinemas over in America? I doubt it. It would need a very clever marketing plan for it to do well and I doubt it will get enough help from other reviewers aswell once they get to experience it. It follows the 90’s slasher formula way to much and has nothing new to bring to the table.