DEVIL’S NIGHT: DAWN OF THE NAIN ROUGE ** USA 2020 Dir: Sam Logan Khaleghi. 96 mins
When a woman is found murdered in a cemetery, it kicks of a string of murders in the small town of Lake Orion, Michigan. A military vet turned cop named Billie Jean Finnick (played by Jesi Jensen), who is haunted by a tragedy while serving overseas, decides to investigate. While combing through the sketchier areas and questioning the more suspicious characters in town, she comes across a supernatural answer to their boom in homicides: The Nain Rouge, a demon who stems from urban legend but has materialized as a sinister, immortal force that will take more than bullets and handcuffs to stop.
Directed by Sam Logan Khaleghi, Devil’s Night is a well-meaning film that is inconsistent in its quality, pacing, and story. Its biggest strengths lie in the acting and ominous, though overused, drone shots. Framed as a detective story, the actual detective work is drawn out and boring, sandwiched between a quick, classic horror kill opening and your typical cop movie fist/gunfight. The action is well executed by its actors but terribly edited with comedic-level slow motion. The villain wears a somewhat-realistic demon mask/makeup complete with matching tail, but his human hands, black hoodie, and parkour moves cause him to lose his credibility. He’s helped a little by CGI that’s somewhat impressive for such a small movie. The film has its moments, but ultimately, it’s trying to be too many things without sticking the landing on any individual element.
Review by Laura Smith