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Hitman horror, who knew? Following this year's astounding
KILL LIST (which DEVIL'S BUSINESS will no doubt be compared to) UK filmmaker
Sean Hogan has planted his own stamp on a subgenre we didn't necessarily know
we wanted. The truth is, the two films are fantastic companions and you
shouldn't waste time seeing either at your earliest convenience.
Clocking in at a lean 75 minutes, the second likening THE
DEVIL'S BUSINESS will be unable to avoid is that of the theatre. Confined
mainly to a single house and seriously dialogue-heavy, the film would have very
little trouble transforming into a stage adaptation. While the two
aforementioned traits may tend to send off signals, know that neither are
cautionary sentiments, as Hogan captures excellent performances from his tiny
cast, and cinematically so, using Argento-esque lighting and often stimulating
The title is an applicable one, easily referring to either
the career our duo of contract killers have chosen, or just what their target
has been up to. On an assignment of notable importance, Pinner (Billy Clarke)
and his young partner Cully (Jack Gordon) settle into the house of their hit
and boss' old associate, Kist (Jonathan Hansler) as they await his arrival from
the opera. Pinner and Cully pass time in conversation, with the elder of the
two visibly annoyed by this first-timer he’s been saddled with. Their talks are
heavy; filled with regretful, mysterious tales of times past, as well as self
doubt in what they’ve signed up for. As they explore the setting, the two find
evidence of serious evil on hand, a notion only amplified when Kist arrives and
proves his interest in the occult isn’t just a passing hobby.
Given its running time, it may seem odd to classify THE
DEVIL’S BUSINESS as a slow burn, but it really does take its time surrounding
you with atmosphere. Thankfully, Hogan and Clarke have the talent and
confidence to regale us with long scenes of introspection and debate. There are
moments of eerie fright peppered throughout, but the film saves its true
physical manifestation of horror for the very end, an end in which the audience
will have to decide to go with. For many, it could be a deal breaker, but there’s
no doubt here that Hogan really goes for it, an admirable aspect within itself.
For those (like this scribe) who will dig the film’s last hand, know that THE
DEVIL’S BUSINESS is well-spoken and out there, and a damn good little film.
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