British horror flick Devil’s Tower (2014) from director Owen Tooth is a confused but ultimately entertaining debut featuring Jason Mewes, best known for portraying one half of the Jay and Silent Bob duo from Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse (Clerks / Mallrats), and ‘Foxy Roxy’ Roxanne Pallet, who is previously known for her work on the UK soap Emmerdale.
Sarah MacColl (Roxanne Pallet) is thrown out of her home by her abusive, alcoholic mother Kim (Frances Ruffelle). Their relationship was strained shortly after Sarah’s father passed away; a tragedy which Kim frequently blames her daughter for. With nowhere else to go Sarah is forced to move into Albion Court, a rundown tower block in desperate need of repair; home to squatters, juvenile delinquents and the unfortunate. Sarah herself is anxious about moving into one of it’s many flats, unsettled by Albion Court’s exterior.
Inside her flat however, although basic, she finds comfort which relieves some of her anxiety. Her neighbours, if a little odd at times, appear to be friendly enough welcoming Sarah into the building. Once she can find her footing and secure work, hopefully she can save enough to move out. Until then her flat at Albion Court is serviceable…at least it was until someone mentioned the death of the previous occupants!
Spoiler alert: This is when Devil’s Tower becomes really weird. Jason Mewes’ character is a squatter, taking refuge within Albion Court. He becomes Sarah’s love interest shortly after breaking into her flat, believing it to be empty, and together they take on the vengeful ghost of a dead occupant, forgotten and left to decay in her flat on an abandoned tower floor. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that this ghost can resurrect the dead!
Gore? Gratuitous sex? Ghosts? Zombies? Yes, Devil’s Tower delivers, but it doesn’t help that none of the film’s horror aspects are particularly effective, lost amongst writer Adam J. Marsh’s social commentary on working class London. There is no sense of dread or suspense, and all the piecemeal elements feel far too familiar at times, but one thing Devil’s Tower has going for it is that it is unpredictable!
The general eccentricity of the proceedings can be atmospheric, and almost surreal at times; interspersed with comedic dialogue that can be genuinely amusing, even if it is a little misplaced. Roxanne Pallet is likable in her lead role as the vulnerable, yet tough Sarah MacColl, further solidifying her career in genre film. Prior to Devil’s Tower (and following her stint as a soap actress) ‘Foxy Roxy’ appeared in 2010’s Lake Placid 3 and 2014’s Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort, turning Roxanne into a UK scream queen.
Jason Mewes also provides an amiable performance; despite his character’s origins. The chemistry between himself and Roxanne is convincing and together they help keep Devil’s Tower running at a brisk, entertaining pace.
Devil’s Tower’s narrative; the themes and tone are frankly all over the place…but I believe this works in the movie’s favour. If this was another generic ghost story, or a generic zombie flick, or even a generic social drama I would not have been prompted to write this review. Instead Devil’s Tower is a combination of ideas forced to fit together amongst a barrage of horror clichés, which is why I find it so charmingly batshit crazy.
Devil’s Tower is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk; plus if you decide to make a purchase after following the link provided you will have supported Attack From Planet B, so thank you.