Movie Review: “Devil’s Mile” Is A Clever Supernatural Thriller

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Review by James McDonald

A relentlessly-paced hybrid of gritty crime thriller and Lovecraftian supernatural horror, the story follows a trio of kidnappers who take an ill-advised detour en route to deliver their hostages – two teenage girls – to their mysterious and powerful employer.

“Devil’s Mile” is a cross between David Lynch and Alex Cox. Lynch is obviously the more well-known of the two, having made films like “Eraserhead”, “Dune” and “Blue Velvet” with Cox having made lesser-known flicks such as “Repo Man” and “Straight to Hell” but either way you look at it, their movies are just plain weird and overly surreal. In “Devil’s Mile”, we pick up on the road with Toby (David Hayter), Cally (Maria del Mar) and Jacinta (Casey Hudecki), a trio of henchmen and women who work for the mysterious Mr. Arkadi (Frank Moore). In the trunk of their Cadillac are two young Japanese women, Kanako (Amanda Joy Lim) and Suki (Samantha Wan), who come from wealthy families and who have been kidnapped for their boss in exchange for a substantial ransom.

Very quickly, the trio get lost and gradually, they realize that they cannot get off the highway, a stretch of road known as the Devil’s Mile. Naturally, none of them are superstitious but when a mysterious van appears out of nowhere and the driver, hideously scarred, tries to attack them but is quickly shot by Cally, they begin to have doubts. When one of the young women tries to run away, they follow her in the car but sustaining a blowout, the car loses control and accidentally runs her over, killing her. That is the catalyst for a long night ahead of them as an apparition appears and starts killing them one by one until a lone survivor is left. In order to get through the rest of the night, they must figure out what’s going on before they too become a distant memory.

Director Joseph O’Brien, obviously shooting with a low budget, utilizes some creepy special effects, reminiscent of “The Grudge”. He effectively generates some genuine moments of tension and the cast do well in their respective roles, performances that might have been relegated to mediocre at best, in the hands of a lesser director. Casey Hudecki as Jacinta is very evocative of a young Nikki Cox and proves that she has the ability to be a very believable action heroine, channeling Linda Hamilton from “The Terminator” and doing so with great moxie, starting out almost helpless and gradually taking control of what’s going on around her. I was pleasantly surprised with the movie as it initially started out somewhat pedestrian but thankfully, promptly found its footing.

In stores September 2nd

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James McDonald
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