I chose another 11.30pm horror movie just because I could. By Australian director Sean Byrne, this is his second feature, the success of the first giving him the leverage to set this film in Texas. Part serial killer, part demonic possession horror type, it didn’t scare me as much as take me for an enjoyable and occasionally exhilarating ride.
Jesse is a scraggy-haired artist, heavy metal fan and dad and, with his more conventional wife and fellow metal-loving daughter Zooey, buys a rambling farm house so he has room to paint. The horror comes from the man who previously lived in the farmhouse and hears the devil’s voice in his head telling him to kill. Playing a Gibson guitar at ear-splitting volume is the only way to drown out the voice, something that makes him unpopular with the neighbours.
There is a small thread, intended to be a subtext, about true artists selling our their ideals for money, something that Jesse is facing in order to pay the bills. I liked the gravel-voiced, thumping metal music that perfectly underscored the satanic possession trope.
There is some clever editing that juxtaposes Jesse’s painting with the blood of a victim and most of the gore is kept off-screen to good effect. The story doesn’t really go anywhere unexpected but there were some delightful laugh-out-loud moments. And with Sean Byrne sitting a few seats from me, it was hard not to feel a warm affection for this messy, well-intentioned film.
Bechdel test – pass