[This review contains spoilers, but tryst me it doesn’t “spoil” the film.]
Jake Gray is a college student dying to get out of his small town. However, he’s been plagued with disturbing visions that only get worse when his friend Conrad signs him up for a game called The Pathway which makes he and his friends start to do bizarre tasks in order to keep playing. Jake backs out of the game but Dakota and Conrad do not; when his friends are killed Jake begins to wonder if The Pathway has anything to do with it.
Devour is one of the strangest horror films I’ve seen in a long time – I watched the film start to finish and I’m not sure I can tell you what it was about. The description I wrote above is basically what’s on the DVD label from Netflix…and it’s not super accurate to the film, but I literally can’t figure out what else to write about the movie.
Somehow Devour is about Jake Gray, his two messed up friends and how he manages to stay sane while they have led screwed up lives for years; Jake meets a girl, Jakes parents are overbearing for a not apparent reason, people around Jake keep dying and somewhere in all this is a few scenes with The Pathyway, college party massacres, Jakes horrific visions, and Jake begins to track down and old occult group and thinks he saw the devil… It’s strange. When it came time for the third act twist I literally cannot figure out how we got there – suddenly Jake is finding out he was kidnapped at birth by his parents because they were crazy-religious and his mother was a Satan worshiper, a group of occultists are trying to track Jake down and somehow the devil is looking for him…it really makes NO sense.
Perhaps the thing that disturbed me the most about Devour is the character of Marisol. Marisol is a nurse that is taking care of Jake’s invalid mother, and they begin flirting when he fixes her computer. They then begin dating which excites his mother and makes Dakota jealous…and then in the final few minutes of the film you find out that Marisol is the devil and she’s Jakes mother. After the “HUH?” faded it was replaced with a “EWWW!” sensation. Jake has been dating the devil/his mother…this is downright Oedipal and done badly on top of that.
Then of course there is the final cliché reveal – is this all in Jake’s head or was it all real? By the time that question rolled around I didn’t care…
Once you see that Jensen Ackles is in this film you won’t be surprised as to why I decided to Netflix it. That man has been in far too few movies and I thought I’d give it a whirl. He’s not bad in it, it’s just the movie that’s bad. Actors and crew do a film like Devour for one of two typical reasons: 1) The original script has a lot more promise than what made it on film and they have no control over where the film goes after they sign on, or 2) they are very early in their career and just need the work. I think for Ackles and the other young actors in this film one of these reasons probably rings true.
Director: David Winkler
Writers: Adam & Seth Gross
Jake Gray: Jensen Ackles
Marisol: Shannyn SSossamon
Dakota: Dominique Swain
Ivan Reisz: William Sadler
Conrad: Teach Grant
Ivan Reisz: Imagine if Hitler had the internet.