Monday, February 8, 2016
An indie drama examining the seven deadly sins, Seven Devils is a well-shot, enigmatic drama featuring actors in dual roles. A hushed, quiet film, it's character-driven with intimate closeups, disorienting camera movements, and jump cuts that create an unreal atmosphere.
In the vignette entitled Lust, a blind woman has a sexual encounter with a blindfolded man, ending in a surprising turn of events. The love scene is shot through a glass of water, intentionally and metaphorically obscuring the action.
Wrath: A woman visits a psychic, but doesn't get the reading she's hoping for. Afterward, the psychic is haunted by visions of an mysterious figure lurking in the woods. A compelling vignette, it has an intriguing supernatural element.
Greed: Underground organ harvesting goes wrong, as a victim's brother turns the tables on the criminals. The least successful of the vignettes, a lengthy conversation slows down the action, with a tragic, off-camera surgery and threats of violence never acted upon.
Gluttony: In a video game-based confession, a woman looks for absolution for some vague transgressions from a priest who indulges in illicit activity.
Envy: A lonely ghost goes to extremes to keep a new tenant within the apartment she haunts. Again, a supernatural element adds interest to an LGBT love triangle with a twist.
Pride: A wealthy, neurotic woman seeks additional plastic surgery to extend her youth. A creepy plastic surgeon's office decorated with taxidermy, a woman clad in a scarf meandering through colorful carousel rides, its red horses contrasting against green tarps, adds visual interest to a subdued scene.
And finally, Sloth: A couple sleeps on flattened cardboard boxes and dances within abandoned warehouses. She seems to have TB, he scribbles her likeness on walls with chalk. There's no dialogue in this vignette, but the emotionally-acted scenes help fill in the blanks. Still, this vignette is somewhat inscrutable, but has a lovely electronic score.
Suffering from a wealth of ideas, Seven Devils is a rumination on sin, but due to time constraints, doesn't seem to expand upon them, or when it does, seems to drop short. Vice, penance, and spirituality have a modern liquidity in this film world, as the actors portray characters who both commit and are subjected to wrongdoings. Greed is the most atmospheric of the vignettes, and would make an interesting feature if fully fleshed out, while Sloth is the most avant-garde segment. I enjoyed the loose, handheld camera work, and the storylines with a paranormal bent.