Occult Schlock With William Shatner

William Shatner knows cheesy filmmaking, almost reveling in it over his long Hollywood career. The former Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise is no stranger to hamming it up on camera. It’s why we love him and how he’s lasted for decades in the business. Shatner and another former Star Trek alum in Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager) star in Devil’s Revenge, alongside Jason Brooks (a bit television actor you shouldn’t recognize) as the primary lead.

The b-movie occult thriller has amazingly crafted practical effects and creepily designed monsters, especially for a low-budget indie production. That happens to be its only real selling point, as the rest of the production mostly falls short in key areas such as writing and character development.

Exploring ancient folklore with a bent towards devil worship, a man loses his grasp on reality. Directed by Jared Cohn (the unrelated Devil’s Domain), Devil’s Revenge doesn’t generate nearly enough scares despite impressively frightening imagery from the main character’s disturbing visions.

…running tediously long, Devil’s Revenge is capped off by a lame final act that goes on forever

After a nasty cave accident ends up killing his friend, John (Jason Brooks) returns home to his wife Susan (Jeri Ryan) and two grown children. The archaeologist was exploring the caves looking for a mysterious relic somehow attached to his family’s curse.

Something changes in John after his time in the cave, experiencing haunting visions of devil worship and human sacrifice in prehistoric times. His very reality begins to change around him after suffering a near-death experience. Afflicted by admittedly creepy monsters invading his dreams, everyone around him is soon put in danger.

This is where William Shatner makes his entrance, playing John’s gruff and obnoxious father. He warns John that the family’s troubles won’t end until John takes them back to the cave and they destroy the missing relic. This is all due to some curse placed on the family generations ago. The lore and backstory in Devil’s Revenge is underwhelming. It feels like the filmmakers came up with it after the creatures were designed first. The whole concept is incoherent and not well planned. Shatner delivers a wildly over-the-top performance as the stern father.

Devil’s Revenge is a fairly lame b-movie with a confusing script. Decent set pieces are provided for the monsters, but not much else works as intended. The movie even mixes up the daughter’s name; it inexplicably changes for one scene. Despite effective practical effects and imposing creature F/X, the screenplay is half-baked and unpolished. Running tediously long, Devil’s Revenge is capped off by a lame final act that goes on forever.

Video

The campy Devil’s Revenge has inconsistent picture quality on Blu-ray. It’s good enough if you ignore the cave sequences and a few other shots. Released through MVD, the indie production had an estimated budget of $1.5 million. Which isn’t terrible for cheap horror, but most of the budget appears to have gone towards the excellent practical effects and creature prosthetics. Exteriors, especially later in the movie, provide significantly better clarity and detail.

That enables detailed close-ups of the creepy monsters and the excellent work by Vincent Guastini. Interiors, especially the opening cave scenes, have elevated black levels and murky atmosphere. They are noisy and badly washed out. Lighting is problematic at best, as beams from flashlights flood the composition.

The main feature runs 98 minutes. Encoded in serviceable AVC on a BD-25, the scope presentation is presented at decent 1080P definition. The cinematography is flat and uninvolving, lacking the depth and dimensionality of most newer digital productions. Close-ups retain decent sharpness and texture, but something is off in longer shots. Devil’s Revenge has mostly forgettable picture quality on Blu-ray without any major flaws.

Audio

You would think Cleopatra Entertainment, home of music label Cleopatra Records, would figure out that lossless audio is an important feature on Blu-ray and home video in 2019. Like their prior releases, Devil’s Revenge comes equipped with a serviceable 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack.

Some nice atmospheric work and a moody score with an edge by Jurgen Engler, are nicely balanced across the front soundstage. There are no dialogue issues and the music is mastered with convincing dynamic range.

No subtitles are included. A useless 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack offers a reduced and lesser version of the better-sounding surround mix.

Extras

Courtesy of distributor MVD and Cleopatra Entertainment, this “special” edition doesn’t really offer any extra material beyond a smattering of trailers for other horror movies from the label. The big bonus here is a soundtrack CD and reversible interior cover art.

The Blu-ray is coded for all regions.

Image Slideshow (04:20 in HD) – Plays automatically.

Devil’s Revenge Theatrical Trailer (01:58 in HD)

Soundtrack CD – Cleopatra Entertainment is really a music label masquerading as a film distributor and it makes sense they’d include this soundtrack CD for the film. The score by Jurgen Engler and a song by David Cross called “Into The Oblique” is spread over 13 tracks on the CD, courtesy of Cleopatra Records.

Devil’s Domain Trailer (01:47 in HD)

The 27 Club Trailer (01:25 in HD)

Room 37 Trailer (02:15 in HD)

Death House Trailer (02:24 in HD)

Halloween Pussy Trap Kill Kill Trailer (01:41 in HD)

Night of the Virgin Trailer (02:12 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review by the distributor. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Devil's Revenge
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  • Extras
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Movie

Campy monster thrills with William Shatner and Jeri Ryan fail to provide the goods.

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3 (1 vote)

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