Screamfest 2013: THE DEMON’S ROOK Review


Film Pulse Score

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Release Date: TBD
MPAA Rating: NR
Film Pulse Score: 6.5/10

James Sizemore’s The Demon’s Rook harkens back to the eighties when picking up a movie meant actually getting in your car and heading to the local video store.   Before the days of DVD the only available formats were VHS, BETA and in some places laserdisc.   Movies were sold by the VHS box art.  If it caught your eye perhaps you’ll be inclined to rent it.  Way back when horror films were packaged in oversized VHS boxes or clamshells with interesting artwork and a few pictures on the back.  The Demon’s Rook feels like one of those films and it proves to be a pretty entertaining horror throwback.

Young Roscoe has a pretty active imagination.  His mother encourages that imagination believing he will one day make something of it.   What his mother doesn’t know is that his imaginary friend is real.   It is a demon schooled in the dark arts.   After coming into the care of this demon he is trained in the arts.  Many, many years later he accidentally unleashes a race of ancient demons hell bent on death and destruction.  Roscoe returns to the world of the living but will he be able to stop the evil forces that he has unleashed.

Sizemore and co-writer Akom Tidwell have written an entertaining film that can be quite confusing at times especially in the beginning.   There are long passages where the demon and Roscoe are speaking in a foreign tongue and none of it is subtitled.  You can get the gist of what is transpiring but it certainly leaves one scratching their head.   The hows and whys of Roscoe being taken are never made clear.  However once the mayhem ensues all of that is forgotten as we are treated to some solid make up effects and gore.  Sizemore also stars as the older Roscoe with wife Ashleigh Jo portraying the older Eva.

The Demon’s Rook is chock full of blood, gore and solid practical makeup effects.  Many of the makeup effects appear in broad daylight and they look surprisingly good.   There are many memorable set pieces but none more so than when a demon takes over a costume party/concert, rocks out and then proceeds to force everyone to kill each other in violent ways.  The film’s makeup department has given the creatures a look and feel of the classic direct-to-video monster movies of the eighties.  The difference here being they don’t look cheesy or cheap but are very well done especially for a low budget effects heavy feature.

The Demon’s Rook is a pretty basic but fun horror film.  It features plenty of well done makeup and visual effects and some interesting looking monsters.   Granted the acting may not be top notch but it’s good enough for the subject matter.  Anyone seeing this film is likely more interested in the monsters than the human drama.   It’s an ambitious directorial debut by Sizemore that is hopefully a sign of more good things to come.

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