Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Devil's Business (2011): Occult Fright Done Right

 ~by Marie Robinson

Writer/director Sean Hogan’s latest work, The Devil’s Business, introduces us to a hit man and his rookie accomplice. Mr. Pinner (Billy Clarke) and Cully (Jack Gordon), respectively, are sent by their boss, Bruno (Harry Miller), to carry out what is supposed to be a quick and easy job. They are to wait inside their target’s home until he gets home from the opera, and then quickly and quietly execute him. While Mr. Pinner is seasoned in his art, and insists on a cold and serious manner, Cully is on his first gig. He is impatient and childish, complaining of boredom as mere minutes tick by.

Mr. Pinner obliges the boy with a ghost story—a personal tale of an old job that came back to haunt him—until they are startled by a sound outside. Thinking that their target, Kist (Jonathan Hansler), has arrived home early. In their search they stumbled upon disturbing evidence of occult activity. Their horrifying discovery proves to be too much for young Cully who pleads for Mr. Pinner to give him a break. Pinner sympathizes, and agrees to do the rest of the job alone, but before the two of them can put it all behind them they have many more demons to face.
Fangoria appropriately describes The Devil’s Business as an “intimate chiller”; with only two characters and one setting you get the opportunity to get to know Pinner and Cully. Clarke and Gordon generate an incredible chemistry on screen and because of this the script flows naturally from their mouths.

As Pinner becomes a mentor and confidant to Cully, they develop a sort of father and son relationship, which adds another layer of intimacy to the film. Hansler and Miller are the only other two speaking actors in the film (Mark Sealy appears in the final scene) and they carry their small parts impressively well; I particularly fell in love with Jonathan Hansler and his deliciously sinister performance. He was also in the Fangoria produced Axed (2011), which I have yet to see.

While The Devil’s Business’ foundation is laid with simple and classic story lines—such as Faust, which is directly referenced in the film—it is dressed up with unique details that make for a gripping watch.
While the film was originally released in 2011, it has just found an American distributor, Mondo Macabro, who is putting The Devil’s Business on shelves in October. It is parts crime drama, ghost story, and occult thriller so if enjoy any of those genres, or appreciate a well-made, thought-provoking film, then by all means keep an eye out for this one.

P.S. There are a TON of great alternative posters for the film. It was really hard for me to pick one to put up, so I highly suggest Googling it to check them out! I’m a sucker for good poster art!

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