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Devil’s Domain

Cleopatra Entertainment

Devil's DomainDisney‘s Beauty And The Beast famously likes to call itself “a tale as old as time”, but traditional though a young girl marrying a lion may be in the circles YOU move in, I’d argue an older tale was that eternal staple of the cautionary tale, the tale of the Devil’s bargain. You know how it goes. Old Nick shows up, tempts someone with something even cooler than all the shit he offered Jesus back there in the desert, and then while they’re busy enjoying it all he reminds that that, well, he IS the Devil, so what do you expect?

Devil’s Domain brings the story into the internet age, hence that see-what-they-did-there title. And the results are… odd.

Lisa (Madi Vodane, in a strong central performance) is the archetypal “troubled teen”, struggling to come to terms with her sexuality and just plain struggling with bulimia. Her classmates, of course, are obnoxious as fuck, and tease and taunt her remorselessly. Her only real ally is her actually-not-as-much-of-an-asshole-as-she’d-previously-though stepdad, played by the omnipresent Michael Madsen. All this changes when she meets the enigmatic and sensual Destiny (Linda Bella) online. Destiny is, of course, the Devil, and promises to deal with all Lisa’s problems and make her dreams come true. You can see where this is going. Almost.

Devil’s Domain doesn’t take the easy route, and there are a few neat tricks and switcheroos along the way to the inevitable ending. It’s like a supernatural version of a Black Mirror episode, but far gothier. The Devil’s Earthly domain is a Clive Barker-esque decadent club, whose décor owes more than a little to David Lynch‘s Red Room. And there’s a lot of surprisingly chaste pants-on sex, too.

It’s kind of a mess on many levels, but it’s an enjoyable one, that throws up a few decent questions on the way. When the Devil promises to make your greatest dreams come true, and you become a reality TV star (something that’s hardly reliant on talent or privilege), is that a comment on your lack of ambition or on society as a whole? And, of course, if your tormentors are such complete assholes, just how sad should you be when Satan takes them off the board?

It’s got some good ideas, and some neat twists on some very old ones, and some nice budget-busting practical effects to sweeten the deal. It’s hokey for sure, and alarmingly silly, but… I kinda liked it.

-Justin Farrington-

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