Dir: Glenn Standring
Star: Karl Urban, Katie Wolfe, Jonathon Hendry, Sally Stockwell
Dr. Harry Ballard (Urban) is a college lecturer who scoffs at all manner of cult religions, until he encounters the Black Lodge, led by LeValliant (Hendry), who have decided to convince him otherwise. Soon, he finds himself wanted for murder and pursued by Demons through the streets of Wellington, New Zealand. Or is he? For it might be a drug trip, or perhaps madness, fuelled by guilt over the death of his brother. His only guide is Benny (Wolfe), who might be a former Black Lodge member…or a crazy herself. The film balances between these threads with a great deal of skill, and when something is happening – which is most of the time – it’s usually fascinating, despite a few dead spots, and perhaps a little too much running away.
Can hardly blame Ballard though, since LeValliant oozes a creepy power, with black humour which is a great touch. Kudos to Urban too, not least for the crunchy cockroach moment which may have you nervously glancing into your popcorn bag, just to be sure. The CGI demons are used sparingly, but generally effectively, though the best sequence has to be the eye popping (your eyes, that is – it’s other organs that actually pop) bare-handed surgery. Oddly, the DVD sleeve drops the word “irrefutable”; presumably not a word in the average Blockbuster customer’s vocabulary. It’s rather appropriate, for this is likely to be a little too cerebral for the average Blockbuster customer. The rest of us, however, will have a fine time.