The Devil’s Hand: Lackluster Horror Flick
Adelaide KaneAlycia Debnam-Carey...
Christian E. Christiansen
In 1 Cinema
Afraid to fully commit and dive into its plot, The Devil’s Hand – previously known as Where the Devil Hides, The Devil’s Rapture and The Occult – is a disappointingly safe and dangerously familiar horror that seems to hit a brick wall at every turn.
Scripted by Karl Mueller and directed by Roommate’s Christian E. Christiansen, the story is set in New Bethlehem, where the film opens with the birth of six Amish baby girls who are born late one night on the sixth day of the sixth month.
Believing that the births are the fulfilment of the ‘Drommelkind’ prophecy – an ominous prediction that states one of the girls will turn into a tool for the devil once she turns eighteen – the town’s ruler, Elder Deacon (Meaney), judges that they should be killed, before one of them brings the end of the world as we know it.
However, thanks to the quick opposition by one child’s father, Jacob Brown (Sewell), the girls – apart from one that gets killed by her own mother at birth – are let be.
Eighteen years later, as the girls’ critical birthday draws near, strange and frightening occurrences begin to take over the town as, one by on,e the girls are murdered while Jacob’s daughter, Mary (Debnam-Carey) struggles to keep her distressing and excruciating visions – in which she sees her fellow birthday girls being killed – in check.
Aside from a few rather gory and tension-filled scenes, much of The Devil’s Hand is an insipid and flat exploration of the reclusive and isolated world of the Amish whose strong religious beliefs and unconventional ways are often used – this time not so successfully – as a backdrop for horror.
Having spent over two years in production, the film is overworked and needlessly convoluted at times; this is, in part, due to the numerous rewrites that took the originallty R-rated script down to a wider-reaching PG-13. The focus on the horrors of the supernatural is sporadic and often falls to wayside in favour of an unfitting romantic plot-strand.
In addition to the run-of-the-mill script, the cast – including Dexter’s very own Jennifer Carpenter as the permanently angry stepmother, Rebekah – fails to register thanks to shallow characters and dialogue that seems to be going through the motions.
Apart from decent performance from Debnam-Carey as a convincingly disturbed young woman, there’s little of note in The Devil’s Hand. There’s no innovation in the context of what has become an increasingly saturated genre, leaving, well, nothing of any merit.