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In the Dark Womb you eat only warm slime: “The Demon’s Rook.”

October 3, 2014

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The Demon’s Rook is a recent DIY movie that manages not to use the found-footage concept (hallelujah!), about a bunch of demons that attack a small Southern town. It seems like a fairly straightforward story, but as the beasties chow down on the human folk, the movie layers question upon question. Questions like: “Was this whole movie ADRed?” and “How drunk do I have to be for this make sense?” as well as “If I drank that whole bottle of Jack Daniels Honey I use for drunken rib eye marinades and chased it with some aftershave, would it make the movie make sense?” and ultimately, “Wait, this movie is still going?” (The answers, by the way, are: yes, very, it’s a start, and probably. Let’s take a look at what makes it so special.

So, The Demon’s Rook begins with bucolic scenes of a kid named Roscoe growing up in rural…someplace. It’s not important. Problem is, the kid keeps seeing a certain demon hanging around. Not doing anything supernatural, mind you–just kind of hanging out, telling the kid his name (it’s Dimwos), looking in his windows, visiting him at night…Yeah, this movie could have smash cut to the Law & Order: SVU credits and made perfect sense.

"Wanna see the inside of my van? I've got candy in there.."

“Wanna see the inside of my van? I’ve got candy in there..”

Anyhoo, one night, amid a colored-smoke/synth music  phantasmagoria, Dimwos gets all possessive. He torches Roscoe’s parents and snatches Roscoe (could still work as an SVU episode), taking him into a deep hole in the woods that leads to…ah, it looks like Dagobah, but the movie refers to it as “The Dark Womb” (which is probably what George Lucas intends Dagobah to mean in Yoda-ese).

"I wish I knew how to quit you!"

“I wish I knew how to quit you!”

Flash forward many years, and—wouldn’t you know it—another demon shows up and starts putting the smack down on the locals. He starts ripping people apart and the he converts one yahoo into a demon/monster thingee. This occurs after a scene in which said yahoo is in the middle of a drunken, half-assed hoedown, singing about proposing to his girlfriend, while his equally drunk buddy plays a harmonica. It’s the kind of scene that makes you question your choices in life, and, quite frankly, I probably would have murdered everyone in site, too. 

Anyway, a couple more demons show up, and then the colored smoke starts reanimating the dead as flesh-munching zombies, who, as they will, munch the flesh with zeal. Now, this seems a bit excessive to me. I can see having demons in your movie–even demons and monsters–but demons, monsters, and zombies just seems like overkill. Anyway, amid the demon/monster/zombie outbreak, out from the hole to Dagobah crawls an adult Roscoe (now looking like a late-period Howard Hughes).

"You seen That Bojack Horseman show on Netflix? It's pretty funny."

“You seen That Bojack Horseman show on Netflix? It’s pretty funny.”

Roscoe is found by his childhood friend Eva—now all grown up—who’s pretty distraught after seeing her dad become zombie-chow (understandable, really). After a quick reunion, Roscoe fills her in on what’s what. Seems as a kid he was taken by DImwos to The Dark Womb where he was trained to kill the, ah, evil brother demons of Dimwos who are real cockbags. Dimwos and Roscoe got in a spat, and Roscoe inadvertently set the cockbag demons free and led them to Earth. I guess. I’m not 100% clear on just what was going on.

So, Roscoe and Eva set out to clean up the area of demons and zombies. Eva shoots them and Roscoe basically uses the force to kill them. Along the way we see some dumbass campers killed off when the demons possess one of them and has him kill and eat his friends. They do the same to a bunch of teenage partiers, and eventually crash an outdoor concert with a, uh, cow theme. It includes naked women made up like cows and general makes the firearm-orgy at the climax of Drive Angry look like Lust, Caution.

Oh shit. Gimli's gove over to the Dark Side.

Oh shit. Gimli’s gone over to the Dark Side.

Eventually, they meet up with the Big Bad, who explodes Roscoe and Eva’s heads, but they manage (I think) to use the same Jedi mind-trick to make the hoedown monster rip out the Big Bad’s heart. Eva and Roscoe are dead, the Big Bad is dead, the zombies are (I think) dispatched, and the hoedown monster scampers off. So, uh, yay?

"Goddamn it! The X-Wing won't move."

“Even with two of us, the X-Wing won’t move.”

Okay, for as much crap as I’ve given The Demon’s Rook, it’s clearly a labor of love by some very talented amateurs, which makes it a lot less offensive than something like Transformers: Age of Extinction, which cost more than the GDP of many First World countries, was assembled by thousands of trained professionals, and still manages to make less sense than anything in this movie.

Writer/director/star/etc. James Sizemore did all the practical effects work, and his monster make-up is amazingly good for a DIY auteur. Granted, most of that makeup is robbed of its impact by being overly lit, but chalk that up to technical limitations. There’s still a prodigious talent at work here. Also, he married his co-star on set, which is really sweet.

These LARP meetings have taken a weird twist lately...

These LARP club meetings have taken a weird twist lately…

So, no, The Demon’s Rook is not a particularly good movie by most measures–any movie that features the line, “In the Dark Womb we ate only warm slime” is gonna have a tough time climbing that hill. Still, it exhibits more promise than most low-budget horror films. Hopefully, with time and investors and experience Sizemore will have the opportunity to grow into his talents.

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