Jenna’s been dating Brad for 5 years and when she catches him red-handed with another woman, learning that he’s been with multiple women over the span of their relationship, blood boiling revenge seems like the only course of action. Jenna’s wiccan friend, Emma, has a radical strategy to summon a succubus to sleep with Brad and give him heartbreaking Satanic STDs. Warned about the dangers of black magic that could backfire 3 times the affliction upon them, Jenna and Emma go through the summoning ritual, calling forth the sex-crazed succubus named Lillith. Quickly making short work of Brad, tearing him open like a gift on Christmas day, the friend soon realize they’ve unleashed an unstoppable, man-eating killing machine and they have no idea how to stop her.
In Jewish theology, the she-demon Lilith has been weaves into popular culture and literature time after time again with tweaks, alterations, and revamps to capitalize on the first wife of Adam’s infamous name in various outlets. Amongst being one of the first female demons, the figure, in name only, has been broaden across numerous religious texts and pop culture mediums from vampires, to a wild beast, and to a source of lustful dreams. For Lee Esposito, Lillith sticks to the demoness basics, luring gullible and randy men to sex and death as a ritual beckoned succubus, in the 2019 horror-comedy, merely titled “Lillith.” The indie picture cautions revenge as a hasty, reckless option that tows disastrous, deadly consequences. Based off Esposito’s 2016 7-minute concept short of the same name, the 93 minute feature length film levels up the concept’s sound department crew member, Luke Stannard, to cowriter and was the genesis of Esposito’s New Jersey-based production company, Ritterhaus Productions, with executive producers Joey Esposito and Mike Arpala footing the bill.
To pull off a slimmer version of “Jennifer’s Body,” “Lillith’s” cast had to be indispensably funny and well-versed with their characters. For the most part, the cast stick the landing, running away with their character ticks that fully engulf the colorful performances and making them certifiably memorable. Savannah Whitten most notably showcases her amusement playing the titular character decked out as an alternative-cladded woman with promiscuous purpose. Whitten also doesn’t look too shabby in full body lime green attire that requires the actress to don a protruding head prosthetic, bulky mouthpiece, and vibrant yellow contacts as the Lillith shifts, in edited scene transitions, back and forth from alt-girl to full blown succubus. The snazzy redhead, NYC based actress is opposite Nell Kessler and Robin Carolyn Parent in their respective roles, who spell besties as demon summoning chaos, Jenna and Emma. Kessler and Parent equally have fun in being the vindictively scorned, jilted lover and her eccentric best friend who just wants to see if she can conjure up evil for the hell of it. The female-led cast deliver timely, funny bits of dialogue individual wrapped like their very own personal skits, but then the attitudes change and the range stretches more meaningful when circumstances become dire and that’s when the cast of ladies really do shine as actors. “Lillith” wouldn’t be as half as successful if it wasn’t aslo for the supporting cast, even in the small roles, to add a smooth ebb and flow of macabre comedy with Langston Fishburne (yes, that iconic surname is related to Laurence Fishburne), Taylor Turner, Lily Telford, and Michael Finnigan.
“Lillith” very much appeals to the feminist esteemed without beating you over the head with the crusading theme. Cornerstones like a succubus snacking on sexually-charged males, Emma’s astute quips and enthusiasms about the historical and religious rises and victories over men while also in an unabashed lesbian relationship, and the vagina being held as a live or die power source of extraordinary consequences all reflect feminized filmmaking, but then Esposito, who is a man and identifies as a male, makes a sharp criticism that isn’t exclusive to feminism but can be said about most subjects if slipped into an oversaturated abundance. What if the actions of feminism goes too far? What if drilling an ideology beyond the point of no return causes more corrosive damage than actual good? That’s what Esposito’s “Lillith” explores inside the “uh-oh, we made a mistake and must fix it” latter acts with great attention to how a woman’s genitals becomes key to saving all of mankind. The irony is unbelievably hilarious, smart, and provocative, whether intentional or not. What kills most of “Lillith’s” boutique vibe is the fluidity of the A/V technical quality that often approaches homemade movie levels of inconsistent sound design. I’m frequently adjusting up and down the volume and trying to discern dialogue out of stronger ambience and noise the boom captures in an unfortunate leaky blockade of decent script dialogue.
July saw the release of Lee Esposito’s “Lillith” rip through the hormonal student body pool with a laid back and snarky she-demon from Hell on Demand and Digital courtesy of indie genre distributor, Terror Films. “Lillith” is shot over the course of 33 consecutive days from New Jersey to New York with director of photography Vincent Caffarello behind the camera and though making any sort of judgement on the A/V aspects for a streaming link might as well be akin to chucking my words right into the trash, I do firmly believe a considerable amount of budget went into casting solid actors and eye-catching makeup work as sound design guerilla notches into Lillith’s smoother interior like a throwing small river rocks at a pristine car. Maybe the shooting equipment lacked high definition properties or maybe post-production could have cleaned up Caffarello’s basic standard efforted shots but, either way, the DP’s stationary and steady cam of mediums and closeups, with occasional slight POV or over the shoulder, gather enough information about what’s happening in the scene in a still interesting perspective. With any digital screener, special feature content is at a zilch and there are also no bonus scenes during or after the credits; however, let “Lillith” speak for itself without the glamour of extra goodies. There’s hell to pay but paying hell with lives is what the sultry death-dealer “Lillith” does best between the sheets…just watch out for her teeth, gentlemen.