Demons Rising on DVD

Monday, 06 June 2011 00:00

“Demons Rising” is an action-packed horror film shot for a pittance but certainly not short of ambition. Written, directed and starring William Lee, the indie movie’s plot concerns The Liber Malorum, aka the Book of Life and Death, and the chaotic race between several good or evil groups to either bury it or read it to unleash its powers. Those who delve into the book are overcome by virtually unstoppable demons. After centuries underground, the book is finally tracked down by a shady Italian gangster called Doctor Montorio.

Montorio deploys his lackeys to retrieve the tome, setting motion a frantic battle for its possession. In the book’s wake, the bodies quickly mount up. Amongst those standing against Montorio and his forces of evil are thief Kyle Rush (E.J. Toxey) and muscle-bound government agent turned Buddhist Monk, Matthias (Lee). Numerous other organisations, cults and individuals get drawn into the hunt, including Matthias’s gun-running brother, the CIA and an old lady who develops an unhealthy appetite for human flesh.

Demons Rising on DVDOne of the film’s biggest problems is that the cast is quite large and it rapidly becomes confusing as to who everyone is, where they are and which side they are on. Keeping track of the damned book is a bit of a nightmare! Other, bigger problems include terrible sound quality on the dialogue front, home movie-standard visuals (shown here in 4:3 aspect ratio) and SFX that look like they were knocked together in an afternoon… in the 1980s. The music is quite effective and always compliments the action well, but it tends to drown out the weedy vocals. I had to turn the volume right up to hear what the characters were saying, and put up with the booming soundtrack.

The acting is one level above that expected of total amateurs, but generally far from acceptable. Most of the characters put emphasis on every single word or mumble their lines as though they are embarrassed to utter them on camera. Physically, things get a better as the fight choreography is fairly strong, even if the camera angles do sometimes make it obvious that no contact is being made between fist and face. I did not think it was possible to say this, but there are probably too many fight scenes in this film; they start getting a bit wear a bit thin after 90 minutes.

The other main problems with this movie are its length and the undisciplined narrative. The story roams all over the United States, with disparate groups stealing the book from under each other’s noses after either a fist-fight or a gun battle, or both. Occasionally Lee remembers this is a horror film and livens things up a bit thanks to some choice face-tearing or throat-ripping. The gore effects are passable in the context of this hyper-active film.

As far as low-budget, indie movies go, this one tries desperately to make up for its shortcomings by layering on the action and buzzing around like a demented fly. For a while it manages to entertain and keep things from getting too serious, but eventually everyone appears to lose their sense of humour and it all starts to crumble. Lee shows plenty of promise though, and hopefully his next effort will be more focused.

There are no special features at all on the disc – not even a trailer.

“Demons Rising” (2008) is out now on DVD, courtesy of MVM. The main feature has a running time of 119 minutes approx, carries an ‘18’ certificate and retails for £9.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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