Fantasia 2014: Devil’s Mile (2014) – Review

Are you ready for a ride down a stretch of nondescript road? A road that’s both sweltering with desert heat and lined with evergreen foilage? A road that’s burning with sin and filled with redemptive hope?

Then you’re ready for a trip down the Devil’s Mile.

devils mile - david hayter

Taking a page from The Twilight Zone or even old time radio storytelling, writer/director Joe O’Brien has weaved a captivating tale of supernatural horror. You’ll be intrigued by the mystery contained in Devil’s Mile, even if the title tells you what to expect, but it doesn’t tell you everything. And this is one of those films that you will want to just let yourself go and to have the story guide you. To be immersed as a passenger in the car with Toby (David Hayter), Cally (Maria del Mar), Jacinta (Casey Hudecki), Kanako (Amanda Joy Lim), and Suki (Samantha Wan), but hopefully not one of the kidnapping victims riding in the trunk.

When we find our bad guys on the road, in peril with their two captives, you’d think that we’d have trouble finding any empathy for them, but it’s really not hard. It’s surprising what facing evil will do to your morals or ethics, and when the writer/director salt and peppers his script with the right amount of humor, as O’Brien has done, we all just fall in love with the baddies. In fact, we have a harder time finding any sympathy for the two kidnapped Japanese girls. More than that, by the time Suki had any screen time I was hoping that she’d die a grisly death. For the most part her character added very little to the film, although she did serve to deliver two plot points: that the boss, Mr. Arkadi (Frank Moore), was a major badass and that there was something more to Jacinta than meets the eye.

devils mile - monster

David Hayter (yes, the famous Hollywood writer and voice of Metal Gear‘s Snake) was amazing as Toby. His wry humor and straight-forward aproach made you hate to love him. But Hayter wasn’t alone in a stellar performance; the sorrow in Maria del Mar’s Cally was palatable and the riteous drive behind Casey Hudecki’s Jacinta was tangeable and satisfying.

Not to tell you too much, but not more than you couldn’t have figured out for yourself, but the stretch of road in Devil’s Mile is one that won’t let you go, not ever. What’s not perfectly clear is what exactly the Devil’s Mile is: Is it pergatory? Is it hell? Is it one soul’s hell? Is it a prison of sorts? Are all the characters in the film dead?

Whatever the answers are to these questions, it’s a fun supernatural film to watch and enjoy. Also, contrary to much of the spirit at Fantasia, Devil’s Mile will be just as enjoyable to watch with a group or alone.

The Verdict: 4/5 Skulls

If you’re in the mood for some classic storytelling, then Devil’s Mile is for you. It has a fantastic look and feel, the actors are fantastic, the strength of the plot, because “plot does matter,” as well as the strenght of the characters… all of this adds up to a great film.

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