Stars: James Andre, Gyana Lua, Hannah Tippit
Director: RJ Cusyk
I was asked to do a review of this by Decades Apart Prod, they are a movie production company specializing in movies with 'micro' budgets. I have not been paid or compensated in any other way than allowed to watch the movie in return for my views upon it's quality.
As you can see this film has an amazingly low budget of only $1500. The premise is a mentally ill young man living in a halfway house is out to prove his innocence when one of the house mates is horribly murdered.
Written AND Directed by RJ Cusyk, the film stars James Andre also been in a film table 47 in 2015 and Gyana Lua also in TV series Anomaly.
A few of the actors etc also helped with sets, clothing etc. This must have drastically helped with the budget. Experimental and small budget things like this really brings out the best in people i find and always find it a pleasure to watch these films. So without further adieu let's see what Through the Devils Eyes has to offer us!!!
immediately on opening the film has a certain throwback feel to it, with the music score being heavy strings and the lighting and filming style/treatment. certainly has that feeling of mid 70's to early 80's flicks about it. I did get a feeling at the beginning and occasionally throughout that some scenes were films without the actor there or out of sequence then cut together later, this isn't a bad thing just an observation on my part. Although it makes the lines and reactions seem a little off in these scenes. However this isn't a persistent problem the lines get more fluid just a few minutes into the film thankfully.
You can also tell this was pretty much done take for take on their budget this is perfectly acceptable as they would have had to gone on people time constraints and other factors. In fact i'm impressed even at the 20 minute mark how they managed to pull this off for such a low amount. They must have a lot of well meaning friends.
Right so James plays David he's not exactly likable right away but that's probably due to the type of life he's led. He's dropped off at this halfway house where a doctor looks after people in similar situations. He sequentially meets all the other house mates and the doctor and his assistant. The house mates are mixed bunch one a bully, another a guy oddly dressed. David refers to him as a cross dresser but i think a skirt/dress hardly = tranny lol. There's Barbara who opens the cheese with dialog like bodaciously cute guys, though it's very tongue in cheek.
he meets the rest around the table at dinner Barbara changes her tone considerably here due to Davids being a dick earlier. Despite being told they like all the residents to have dinner together they all quickly disperse for various reasons.
Then while outside smoking the jock asshole Toby is taken out with a knife to the throat, pretty pleasing as he was a massive dick. Also quite early on surprisingly.
His body is found and everyone suspects the other around the table in the morning. Especially Rebecca who threatened him the night before. For some reason David turns into super sleuth at this point checking all the clues that are left behind.
David then forgets about it all and goes about doing odd jobs around the neighborhood. David seems to know an unusually large amount of things linked to killers too. Though Rebecca has been taken into police custody we find out later on (to bad Rebecca was hot lol).
So yes this is the twenty minute mark i was on about the film gains leaps and strides here in these dialog scenes. We learn a lot more about both David and the guy in dresses too this is really good story here. It's also here that we do learn it's set in the 80's if Mario 2 has just been released 1987 I think.
David goes back to work for the same guy later though his attitude seems to have soured a little since last time (maybe everyone in this town is a little bi polar?). He still sets David some almost impossible tasks to do (one incredibly shity shitter) and in an 80's montagesque scene we see him clean the lot up, impressing the guy who thought he was just another one of 'the punks' of his generation. Paying David his money in a hearty handshake. He is then brutally stabbed while David is outside having a drink.
Of course this points most the houses eyes to David now, especially since Mario 2 doesn't go down well with the some of the others too. But everyone does have their own view on how and who is to blame.
We later learn the traumatic even that made David the way he is, but he keeps being told the story only to later block it out again. They want him to remember the specifics of what happened but his mind doesn't allow him. As you can tell i'm trying not to give away to many details about the film so if you decide to watch it you can gauge these for yourself. He runs off to his room and we then see the full traumatic event that happened to him, well to a girl named Beverly.
Barbara then finds black gloves and a knife in Davids room just as the cops come to ask him for a blood sample, they then think the police have come for him due to this evidence. The Doc's assistant doesn't believe this and runs to ask the Doc what's going on.
Then despite the police proving that the blood at the scene of the crime was not his, he seems to think this is emough evidence that it was not him. The rest of the house doesn't believe him, though the Doc believes he is being framed. They tell David to go off so they can try to catch the real killer, the Doc is then killed.
The assistant runs in after finding his corpse accusing David of the crime, who seems dumbfounded at the accusations. He just about manages to talk her out of calling the police saying that a cut on the body will prove who the murderer is. Typically three out of the five of them have cuts on their legs or arms, but Mary gets hysterical when asked about hers. They believe she tried to frame David for a murder because she likes Rebecca.
David tries some unsuccessful reconciliation which is followed with their last meal together as i suspect with the Doc dead there will be no more halfway house. Poor old Ralph is then killed, I felt the most sorry for him as he's just a totally innocent idiot in all this. It's some damn unlucky shit that it's always David who stumbles upon this stuff all the time, but he does manage to spook the killer and give chase but doesn't capture him/her or get a good look in the dark.
Once the cop is called again we then get the reveal of who the killer really is, I must say this was a surprise to me. I mean genuinely threw me a curve-ball here.I suspected this person maybe third out of the potential killers. So grand job there film.
So this basically the end of the film it does end abruptly and with some freaky screaming after such a build up but well it what else can you expect it's clean cut at least.
So thoughts on this film?
I enjoyed it a lot it's not, well far from perfect actually but it shows a finesse and tight storyline that only an ultra low budget film like this can achieve. Yes some of the acting is hamy, but what do you expect when you get something like together?
You have to work within your boundaries and I think this film does that in a spectacular fashion, it never tries to overreach or make it'self convoluted in anyway. It doesn't branch off on other tangents it stays true to it's roots there's a main character who travels through this film and we watch that adventure from start to finish.
You seriously could not do anything else with this film it's straight forward throwback thriller and better than most of the offerings that were about at the time this was set. It feels somewhere between a grindhouse flick and a b-movie slasher.
This won't be everyones cup of tea it will be TO cheap for some, TO bad acting for others, but if you truly want a good homage done on an amazingly low budget this is the film for you. This is no ass kissing or anything because hell the film has flaws i pointed them out but for what it offers i believe these can be overlooked.
THN proudly awards this film a good 4 stars out of 5