Short Film Review “Devil Town”



First, the Recap:

The content of our surroundings. As the everyday hustle and bustle of humanity rushes by, we can often grow unintentionally numb to it all, soon just making our way amidst routine and self-focus, therefore potentially losing sight of events occurring right beneath our noses, apathetically oblivious. The day is typical for Patrick Creedle (Matt Hebden), an extremely driven and entirely offensive, intolerable letting rep in contemporary London. Making no bones about the arrogance-driven means by which he treats his clients, Patrick goes about business, unaware and ignorant of others around him.

Walking down the street on this particular day and ultimately stopping by a local café for coffee, all the while being annoyed by a phone call he’s on and by the café’s waitress (Elina Alminas), Patrick fails to notice he’s been followed to this destination by a rather unkempt man he passed by earlier. Finally settling down at a table, Patrick’s solace is overtly interrupted by the man, Driscoll (Johnny Vivash), who proceeds to go on and on about the end of the world, relentlessly convincing Patrick to listen to his ramblings. Patrick soon comes to find that these ravings have far more sinister and valid merit than he would ever have realized.

Next, my Mind:

Just being frank, given this film’s title, one might assume this 16-minute short film from writer/director/editor Nick Barrett is just another typical, supernaturally-infused, unoriginal, generic horror effort.  Nothing, at least for this reviewer, could be further from the truth. Utilizing a very well-crafted and clever set-up, the narrative about one man’s foolish attitude and the price paid for being unobservant is carried off with flying colors.  A formidable combination of drama, smart dialogue, building tension, ominous portents, and “Twilight Zone”-level creepiness, the film hurtles along with perfectly-paced purpose, ending with a whopper of a twist that punches you square in the face with beautifully calculated resolve and chills running down your spine.

Hebden’s Creedle is a beautifully executed portrait of exactly how so many of us might picture unscrupulous businessmen of any sort. His imperious nature with associates and clients in tandem with a more than evident haughty, ego-centric demeanor more than calls attention to him, but in this case, to his detriment. Hebden very effectively embodies this wayward character’s multi-faceted manner, and watching him take Creedle from conceited to abject fear is a treat to watch. Likewise, Vivash’s Driscoll is also executed with precision and wonderfully emoted commitment, first presenting him as what could be your average homeless man babbling about the end of everything to a fantastically unearthly, frightening, and deadly serious harbinger of doom for Creedle. Vivash fluidly takes the character through this transition in bearing with slowly increasing menace, and it truly draws you in and disturbs you at the same time.

What stands out to the film’s credit here as well is the supporting performance from Alminas, who, while basically having one brief moment of speaking, still manages to add greatly to the air of eeriness being created, even as her waitress provides the film’s truly final moment, which by conjecture is also just plain freaky in the greater implications it imposes. Overall, “Devil Town” is one indie horror film more than worth looking into for its unique approach, solidly written narrative, absolutely engaging performances, and willingness to trade blood and guts for spine-chilling thrills.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!



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