DEVIL MAKES WORK (2014)
Dir: Guy Soulsby
Starring: Shaun Dooley, Sebastian Canciglia, Duncan Meadows, Oliver Scott, Wreh-Asha Walton, Michael English, Georgina Morrell, Matthew Greenhough, Bridget Wood
SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: This is a short, so I'll try not to spoil too much here, but read on at your own risk...
On a throne of scrap metal and automobile parts a dirty suited Devil (Dooley) pontificates on Human existence, emotions and ambition.
Throughout his deep examination of what makes Man, we are shown a number of examples of the worst humanity can endure and inflict upon itself and the sinister depths to which people will sink to further their situation, from the trials of Christ (Canciglia) upon the cross, to Sisyphus in Hades (Meadows), via rioters, pimps and witches.
WHY IT WORKS: First, off, director Soulsby and cinematographer Nicholas Bennett have crafted an absolutely sumptuous looking film. I'm not lying when I say that each and every single frame during the short's taut eight-minute runtime is so beautifully and artistically framed that it would not be out of place hanging on a wall.
Visually, this could well be the most polished and amazing short I've reviewed here at the House yet.
It isn't just the Hollywood level framing, film-quality, editing by Nick Armstrong and colour work that are at this jaw-dropping standard — the special effects (of which there are an impressively ambitious number) and wonderful make-up work also hit the nail well and truly on the head. The team of Scott Simmonds, Terry Tsang, James Paul HattSmith, Eileen Chan, Caspian Graca Da Silva and Robbie Drake were among those whose work on the film was recognised at the Indie Horror Film Festival, and with good reason. Well done to all!
Quite simply, Devil Makes Work is a stunning achievement, especially when the tight budget to which it was made is taken into consideration. The film is a real labour of love and the sheer effort on the part of everybody involved practically pours out of the screen.
Of course a film is so much more than just a collection of images. Here the main thread of the film is carried by the fantastically intense Dooley. Dooley will be familiar to British TV watchers for his roles in Misfits, Broadchurch and Wolfblood, will appearances in the likes of EastEnders, Coronation Street and Silent Witness. This is an accomplished, experienced actor and the Yorkshireman is a revelation as the Devil. At times threatening, compelling and seething, his gravel-voiced delivery as he recites the history of humanity's desperate quest to reach a higher and higher status is mesmerising.
If the visuals of Devil Makes Work can be best described as visual poetry (and I really feel that is the case), the monologue delivered by Dooley charting the ongoing battle between Good and Evil is a poem too. It's deep, emotive and stirs some decidedly uncomfortable feelings among the listener. This is some fantastic writing on Soulsby's part.
Dooley isn't the only cast member to perform at an impressively high standard. The other actors appear all too briefly but each makes a suitably strong impression in their own bloodcurdling vignette.
This is a truly fantastic short film, and one that makes me very excited to see what Soulsby could do with the budget and time to expand upon it. Perhaps I'm being greedy here, but this short would work incredibly as a prologue to a Prophecy style biblical struggle among us flick, albeit one with a lot more intellect and wit.
Even if that is not to be, Devil Makes Work is beautiful, deep and disturbing — an absolute must-see.
SO WHERE'S IT AT? Devil Makes Work is currently still doing the rounds on the festival circuit, so be sure to check out their official Facebook page to find out where and when you catch the film. Be sure to show the guys some support and give it a Like while you're there too!
10 WORD WRAP UP: A visual feast with deep, dark meaning at its core
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