Bedeviled tells the tale of 5 college students who download a demonic app to their phones. One-by-one, they start dying in mysterious ways. Get Ghostly Activities’ take on this modern horror flick.
***Minor spoiler alerts are now on***
Let’s take a look at the film by its different elements, and then will sum it up with a rating.
As we mentioned, the story involves an app that has a demon attached to it. The more you use it, it seems like the faster you get killed. Now, there really isn’t much to the story. You download the app. You use it a few times. You get killed. Say, every three jump scares or so, and you die. Being a horror movie, there isn’t much logic: Most of the characters make bad judgments and end up dead. That’s what we’re paying for.
So, we were talking about the story. It’s simply find a way to get rid of the app before you get whacked. The film’s more about the jump scares, which are based on the characters’ biggest fears, than telling the demon’s story or rooting for a survivor. That’s about it.
Abel and Burlee Vang wrote and directed this little horror flick on a tiny budget. I think they did a good job with direction. The pacing is fast; there’s a good set-up to each kill scene; and they didn’t overdo the darkness. One of my pet peeves is horror directors who hide their villain/slasher/monster behind low-light and you can’t make out the FX. In this case, they used low-light and shadow effectively because you can still make out the killer spirits in each death sequence, including the Mr. Bedevil ones.
Well, the cast didn’t have much to do. Really, they sat around a lot, trying to remove the app. If it wasn’t that, then they had to run away from a fear spirit trying to kill them, while screaming convincingly. It’s standard horror movie stuff.
One actor did a really good job with the given script, Mitchell Edwards. He played the computer science student, Cody.
The others were all competent. I think Victory Van Tuyl, who played Haley, could have done more with her character, if given more screen time.
Mr. Bedevil is the name of the killer app. You could think of it as a sociopathic Siri. Anyway, it would download on your phone and start as a somewhat funny and helpful app. It could turn on/off appliances, lights, answer test questions and useful tasks like that.
In time, it would become vindictive and mock you. Then, it takes over your phone and posts some very embarrassing videos to Facebook.
After that much fun, it would send your greatest fear to kill you. And, it looks like a Slender Man version of the dummy from Dead Silence. Really, it does. Look at the side-by-side pictures.
Anyway, is it a scary demon? Sorta. It doesn’t really do that much once it manifests. Unless you count wiggling its really long fingers.
Most of the movie involves jump scares. The music will build; the victim looks around for the killer; then whammy! They get killed once they think their safe. Most horror movies use this technique now. Whatever happened to a nice, leisurely stalking?
Anyway, each death scene is well set-up, but I wouldn’t call the kills anything to write home about. I mean, a few of the killer fear spirits were a nice touch, like the teddy bear and drowned pregnant woman. But then a few sucked like the Grudge Granny. I think the most effective kills showed Mr. Bedevil manifesting and doing the death dealing itself.
However–this is a downer–you never see the spirits kill the victims, and you never see the bodies’ condition afterwards. It’s left to your imagination. These death scenes can work in a major studio film, but in a B-movie like this one, give us the money shot.
Ghostly Activities’ Take
It’s kinda scary. It has some decent kill set-ups, but doesn’t deliver the bodies. I’ll give it a 2-out-of-5 stars. That means wait for it as part of your Amazon Prime membership and don’t pay the $3.99.
Video and image sources: Copyright 2017 Standoff Pictures, Circle 18 and Badlands Features