Young Roscoe is lured to an underground dwelling dimension by an ancient demon of peace. The demon takes Roscoe as his pupil and mentors him for years the ways of the powerful dark arts, but when Roscoe unknowingly opens the gates of hell by releasing three powerful and evil demons from their vessels, his master is killed and Roscoe flees back to his quiet earthly town with the evil demons in tail. Now the three pure evil beasts ascend topside and reek havoc amongst the quaint little town using mind control upon their human prey, re-animating the dead back to life, and conjuring the evil out of innocents’ souls. Roscoe has the only supernatural power to stop them, taught and passed down to him by his late demon master, but will he have enough strength to save what’s left of his humanity?
First off, “The Demon’s Rook” is my first favorite release of the 2015! A freshman film from James Sizemore rises to the top and absolutely destroys, or rather obliterates, any horror release I’ve watched and reviewed the past two months. Sizemore eviscerates the 1980’s and early 1990’s horror, tangles and twists all the elements together, releasing a grotesquely creature-feature of awesomeness.
The detail on the practical effects are so finely tuned and done well that in trying to point out the rubbery, obviously fake demon body parts was seriously pointless. Every thing from costumes, to makeup, to exploding heads were rock hard solid in the results, even the sometimes over-zealous gore scenes in other gory films were exact and on point with camera angles, the right amount of blood, and not too hard to swallow when it came down to suspending disbelief.
The fantastic-driven story combines many horror subgenres from, the obvious, demonology, to the living undead. This doesn’t feel like another “run for your life while we’re being chased” type film as there are various facets and layered tangents to the story. Many characters are introduced and are quickly, but properly, disposed of and, for a film like “The Demon’s Rook,” this type of catch and release is suitable because death becomes a character and without death, in a movie with demons and zombies and black magic, you need death to breathe and live and in order to fully embody that death character you need victims and Sizemore, along with co-write Akom Tidwell, breaks the bank with disposable characters.
Tim Reis’s cinematography is beyond brilliant with the use of prominent coloring. The red, green, blue dense fog settings create an atmosphere like none other while the editing, cut also by Tim Reis, is easy on the transitions and easy to follow. Sizemore tackles the special effects department and seizes the moment to be relentless on the use of fake blood. These Georgian filmmakers will need to be watched closely as “The Demon Rook” is underground gold and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see rush of more films into production from this crew. The dialogue is my only small beef with “The Demon’s Rook” as it’s bit bland and a bit expositional, but I’m really reaching to find a flaw here. Most of the ambiance and dialogue becomes a bit jumbled at the beginning with sudden stops in sounds creating goofy transitions. However, this all seems to clear up fairly early.
Technically, the Cindedigm DVD looks amazing in a clarity sense with only a few blurry moments during forest scenes in it’s 16:9 widescreen format. The sound is balanced and consistent throughout even during the scenes or montages tracks from rock bands come into play. No sign of audio stifling nor hijacking. Plus, a good amount of extras come with the release such as deleted scenes, a making of, a gag reel, and bonus short film from Sizemore entitled “Goat Witch” which is just as amazingly disturbing.
Bringing old time practical monster classiness to the modern age is risky business, but director James Sizemore’s and Akom Tidewell’s passion and thirst for hallmark classic demons and zombies resurrects legends back to the indie scene and by adding in his own terroristic tastes, the Black Rider Productions duo also conjures up something new with the vibrant coloring. I would compare Sizemore to the satanic or cult likes of Rob Zombie, to a young George A. Romero with the zombies, and to a special effects genius such as Tom Savini. Don’t consider Sizemore a hack of icons; he’s certainly not, but he displays his own style by slowly sliding that sharp blade into the stomach with perverseness pleasure and that, my friends, is Sizemore’s contribution to chaos.