Friday, December 13, 2013

Film Review: Art of the Devil (2004)

Art of the Devil (Review)
Thailand/2004
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes 

"...this film doesn't offer much."

Boom (Supaksorn Chaimongkol) finds herself pregnant by a married man, Prathan, she met at a country club. She accepts a hefty payment for her silence, but it backfires and leads to her imminent sexual assault. Boom then decides to exact her revenge through vicious black magic...

Art of the Devil continues as Boom slaughters Prathan and his family. Afterward, Prathan's ex-wife and her family are given his estate. Still angered at Prathan's actions, and further angered by not receiving a share of his estate, Boom decides to use black magic on his extended family. Boom works herself into the family in hopes of inheriting the estate, but with deadly methods. Not much goes on during the first two acts that require the amount of time they take up. The final act brings in more story and actual events, but it is sloppy, inconsistent, and rushed. The ending makes sense in a way, but it's overly-complicated and ineffective, anyway.

The biggest flaw in Art of the Devil is its sloppy storytelling. It's told in flashbacks with the present in black and white and the past in color, but many events aren't really elaborated on or fully explained, anyway. Otherwise, there really isn't much going on during the first hour or so, it feels bloated and uneventful. The horror consists of gore and some creepy visuals. Gorehounds will appreciate some of the vicious gore scenes, but I felt like this element was underutilized. Likewise, the spooky imagery was great, but underutilized. On top of that, the characters weren't likeable or logical. Boom's initial intentions don't seem genuine, especially considering how fast she accepts the money and her ultimate motives. Meanwhile, Prathan's ex-wife feels "entitled" to something she didn't work for. And her daughter, Nan, is illogical; if you get shot at a few times, and the gun ends up in front of you, pick up the gun and shoot your pursuer!

The acting was okay. Although I did enjoy Supaksorn Chaimongkol, most of the acting is simply decent. The cinematography is great during some scenes and just competent during others. The editing is choppy and inconsistent, which also hurts the general storytelling. The music fits the horror theme, but it isn't memorable or unique. Tanit Jitnukul's direction is solid, as well, but some of the editing choices ultimately effective the smoothness of his ride. The Art of the Devil is apparently written by Ghost Gypsy, and it's just too sloppy and overly-ambitious.

Overall, Art of the Devil is a weak horror film. It isn't particularly scary, nor is it really interesting. The story doesn't even delve deep into the black magic, which certainly would've earned it bonus points. Unfortunately, aside from a few spooky images and great gore gore effects, both of which are underutilized, this film doesn't offer much. I'd recommend streaming or renting before purchasing.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some sexual themes.

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