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See what they saw
Having massive preconceptions before we decided to watch this film, I even offered to my husband that we could turn it off if it wasn't any good. Put off by the title 'Demons Never Die', but intrigued by the cast, I really figured this film was going to be totally rubbish with bad CGI, a rubbish story and a bad script. How wrong I was. Now, I'm not going to lull you into a false sense of security and tell you this film is going to be film of the year Oscar wise, and it's going to go down in all time history. The truth is, it isn't but it is quite a good little British film with a very good cast.
I don't believe the film should have been called Demons Never Die. I expected a film about spooky goings on and people being possessed. It isn't. In any shape or form! The film follows a group of teenagers at college, who have little to live for (or so they think). Moody, awkward, troubled and desperate would probably have given more of an idea what the audience should expect, as it follows a large group of teens who seemingly have nothing in common except for one big thing. Life. The truth is, none of them think they have anything worth living for and decide to enter into a suicide pact. A tricky thing to attempt to cover in a film, especially a British film, after the Bridgend suicides a few years ago. But the film is done with style, and doesn't attempt to recreate any biographical account in any way. The film reminded partly of Scream, and partly of a horror from about 6 or 7 years ago called The Eye.
I was massively impressed with the song choices throughout the film. Current and edgy, the music selection is perfect, and is presented in a way that sympathises with the particular character's story that is being portrayed in that particular scene. The cinematography again is quite edgy, and definitely current. One particular scene where the characters are all talking to one another on a web cam is filmed very cleverly.
There are some interesting characters in the film. Some are likeable, some aren't. Some are troubled, some are just plain evil, and the mix works well, with them trying to work each other out and bond, without getting close to each other. They are after all, in a suicide pact.
Yes! Firstly, the synopsis of the film lists Tulisa Contostavlos and Reggie Yates as being in the film. I will be honest and say that although I'm not really a fan of either, it was what had initially made me watch the film, thinking that if two fairly big names had committed themselves to it, it must be half decent. That said, both play bit parts, Tulisa is in the film for around 5 minutes, and Reggie Yates appears on and off throughout the film but is by no means one of the central characters. What is surprising, it the cast is actually excellent, but you only realise once you begin to watch the film and recognise the actors. For any regular watcher of British dramas, then you will recognise quite a few of the cast. Emma Rigby plays a troubled girl, who seems generally unhappy in life. Extremely pretty and seemingly with a modelling future in front of her, she seems willing to let it all go. She will be recognised by younger audiences as playing Hannah Ashworth in Hollyoaks, but for me played a brilliant part in the recent BBC's Prisoners Wives, as Gemma. You may also recognise Robert Sheehan who again plays a troubled teen with a bit more depth to his story. He has recently starred in Jimmy McGoverns Accused, again on the BBC. There are a few other teens who are recognisable, some from British films, others from TV series.
Second little niggle, which is rather silly, but is mainly with Tulisa's role. She was actually more capable of acting than I had thought, but in the opening scene which she is in, she takes a phone call, and stands in the landing to talk. This just really bugged me for some reason, and I couldn't understand why she had moved out of her bedroom! I said it was a silly niggle, but it's a niggle nonetheless. Also, Tulisa's character doesn't ever really seem to fit into the story, while she kick starts the story, there isn't any reference to her in the film, and the part of her story in the beginning doesn't seem to make sense.
Runtime was just about right at just over 90 minutes. It was an easy watch, and although I guessed little bits throughout the film, I didn't guess the ultimate ending which was a nice little change as I usually guess the endings of films! The very last ending of the film was a little naff, left open for a follow on, but I would be surprised if there actually was a sequel.
A good solid 3 stars. Worth a watch.
Film only review.
When I saw the trailer for this film, my jaw literally dropped. Not ony did it have the gorgeous Robert Sheehan in it, but it was also studded with various other stars including Tulisa, Emma Rigby and Reggie Yates. I knew I had to see it and searched desperately online to find a site that would allow me to watch it. No luck, so I attempted instead to see which cinemas were screening it - for the life of me I couldn't find one, and I ended up forgetting about it. Fast forward 6 months or so later to today. I was sat at home bored, tired and feeling pretty run down. My baby was fast asleep in her moses basket so I decided to have a quick look on the Virgin Media on demand film list to see if anything took my fancy. As soon as I saw this, I purchased it straight away for £3.95 and settled down to watch it.
The film has been compared to Scream by critics however I don't see the resemelance in the slightest, and the film in my opinion has made a total joke of the UK's ability to make 'real' horror films. The plot sounds quite good and was of interest to me - a group of British seventeen year olds who make a suicide pact.. but someone would rather do it for them. The film opening is a little confusing (despite obviously been designed to be mysterious) and after seeing the entire film I really still don't understand the point of it at all! I think to be honest, although it sounds harsh, they just stuck Tulisa in the beginning to attract attention to the film and to attempt to keep viewers hooked. Her acting in the opening scene was okay to start with but after 5mins it started to wear thin to be completely honest and I could swear she looks at the camera numerous times while delivering the lines from the script which made me feel like cringing. She's not a completely rubbish actor but I think that she overplayed it a little with the emotions, and as I said before her scene (the opening scene) was pointless, all it did was start the story off. The film is shot in high contrast meaning it has a quite dark look to it, which I didn't particullary like.
After the opening scene we are introduced to the film's main characters, this is done by flipping the camera onto each person as they walk into college, it's done in a very cool way and slow motion etc is used and we get to see what each character is like, eg we see that one of the characters is been bullied as he's hit on the head by a boy while he is walking to his seat, we see that two of the characters have a crush on eachother as they're seen glancing over to one another etc. Once we have been introduced to them all the police (Ashley Walters and Reggie Yates) make an announcement that a pupil at the college named Amber (Tulisa's character) has killed herself. The main characters don't seem suprised or shocked at all and the police then go on to say that they are concerned that fellow pupils may be tempted to become 'copy cats' and commit suicide themselves.
We are then 'taken home' with one of the characters, Archie (Robert Sheehan) with the camera following him, we are made aware he has 'issues' of his own due to a disturbing inicident involving his mother which we see flash backs of in his nightmares. Archie then logs onto his laptop and we can see that he's gone into a chatroom, with all of the other main characters that we saw earlier. We can see them on the screen as if they're on their webcams and the screen then goes multicoloured and high contrasted while we watch them interact as if we are Archie watching the screen. We find out that they're all suicidal and are planning to kill themselves as soon as possible and that Amber was also a friend of theirs who was planning on killing herself with them. They are impressed that Amber went through with it (so they think) and as a result the ring leader (Kenny) pressurises the others to hurry up and decide when and how they are all going to kill themselves.
I won't go into anymore of the plot, but it's simple. Teenagers, some with quite serious issues wanting to commit suicide. This could of been quite a meaningful and deep plot, however it's ruined by the fact that a killer steps in and picks them off one by one, leaving the rest to wonder who the killer is. I found the plot at first quite gripping but as time went on I could see where it was going. The fact that the writers were trying to make out that Archie is/was (I won't say if he is or not!) the killer was way too obvious and very overplayed. The fact that the characters all build a relationship so quickly is unbelievable too, and none of the characters have any depth at all. The best character in my opinion is Kenny, who wants to become a well known name and isn't content with just been 'the poor little suicide kid'. Instead, he plans to commit mass murder (although, the victims would be of course the other 'suicide kids') however as this doesn't go to plan when the others drop out, it creates a little depth and I was left wondering if maybe the killer was him.
By the end of the film I was pretty sure who the killer was, so it came as a little bit of a shock to find out who it really was, but it didn't really make me gasp or feel shaken up.. I was just like 'oh, him.' The way the film is shot is okay, I like the range of camera styles and the picture was very clear, but I found the whole night vision blaire witch style of filming at the end of the film ridiculous and it didn't add any tension to the film at all for me personally. I also didn't like that the murder victims were killed in such a non gory, boring way. They were all killed with a knife which isn't particullary very inventive! I also found some of the scenes to be too 'convinient'. For example in the scene where one of the girls Jasmine is struggling with the killer and conviniently gets away, I know why they did this (to build suspision against her boyfriend Archie) but the way it was filmed was ridiculous.
The film adds a little comedy as well as blood and guts, however it didn't make me laugh once. There's one particular scene where one of the characters, a chubby geeky guy thinks hes about to lose his virginity to a pretty girl but then she pulls a penis shaped sex toy out of her handbag.. i'm sure some people will find this hilarious but for me I just thought it was unnessacary and not at all funny. The only thing I liked about the film was that they gave most of the characters at least a tiny bit of depth. I will briefly go into each one -
* Archie. Archie saw his mum killed when he was a child and as a result is traumatised. Archie forms a relationship at the start of the film with Jasmine. He is quite a mysterious character and it is made clear that he has a bit of a hinge loose, leading the audience to believe that he may be the killer.
* Jasmine. Jasmine has family issues. She grew up with a mentally ill mother and her father left. She fears that she has the same disorder as her mum, which makes her vividly imagine stuff that hasn't really happened, hence why in several scenes no one believes that the killer attempted to murder her.
* Amber. This is Tulisa's character. She is seen crying on the phone to her boyfriend and she mutters that she had an abortion which is presumably the reason why she was suicidal.
* Kenny. His character is pointless really but he had a mildly funny edge to him. He's the ring leader of the group and tries pushing the others into taking part and staying part of the suicide pact. He has a guy who follows him around filming him as he wants to be famous once he's dead.
* Ashleigh. She self harms. There is no depth to this character or no reasoning behind why she is part of the 'suicide gang'.
* Samantha - She's a glamour model and has bulimia which she states she can't cope with anymore. Emma Rigby did a brilliant job of portraying the character.
* James - An overweight, bullied guy who lacks confidence and comfort eats.
* Sachin - He's a regular cannabis smoker and takes drugs to escape from reality. He was a drug dealer and got a girl pregnant leading to his parents kicking him out.
* Davey - He isn't suicidal but follows Kenny around with a camera. He wants to be a journalist.
There is also another character but he has no name. He has family issues and feels he has let his dad down for some unknown reason.
All of the actors are very average, even Robert Sheehan who I normally would of classed as a flawless actor. Emma Rigby is by far the best actor and her scene where she's talking to the camera is touching and believable. The script is okay but there are no memorable quotes and at times I found some of the scenes a little cringey to watch. The soundtrack has modern, upbeat music in it (eg Chase & Status, Jessie J etc) and the songs go well with the scenes. I felt let down by the ending and felt that a number of the scenes (EG the principal drinking/acting suspicious/looking shifty and depressed) unncessary. The ending wasn't explained and I was left feeling confused and dissapointed. I overall wouldn't reccomend this movie as it has no depth. If you're after a film with stupid 'trying to be funny' one-liners, a bit of sex and a bit of blood then you might like it. If you want a real murder mystery then this isn't for you. There is no tension, no depth, no explanations and the twist at the end is quite frankly pointless as well as pathetic. 2/5 stars - if it didn't have Robert Sheehan and Emma Rigby in it, it would of been 1/5!