“The events and characters in this motion picture are real.
They’re all real.
Magic is real, and it is dangerous as fuck.”
—“Goat Witch” (Short Film)
There’s some weird shit going on in Moreland, Georgia. I’m talking weird supernatural demon shit and it starts with this kid named Roscoe (Emmett Eckert). He looks like a normal kid. We see he likes to play with toys and with his neighbor, Eva (Grace Kilgore), who’s around his same age. He has parents and even likes to draw like all kids do. The creature stuff he draws shouldn’t be any concern either. I used to draw that shit when I was a youngin’ too, but what sets this particular kid apart is the demon that manifests in his bedroom every night, and come to think about it, those pictures he was drawing look an awful lot like it.
I guess there’s only so much tutelage you can get from a demon on the outside before you’re “asked” to continue your studies in its realm. And when I say “asked” I mean one night the demon kills his parents, only thing left of them is burned and bloody outlines of their bodies on their bed and lures the boy into the woods where he’s directed to enter this hole in the ground. He does and in a flashback sequence later on in the film we see this demon called, Dimwos (believe it or not he’s one of the “good guys”), a creature that keeps the universe in order, passing on his dark arts to Roscoe. And this passing of the dark arts goes on for decades till Roscoe (James Sizemore) is a grown man, but now his powers are stronger and he’s able to see what really happened to his parents that night he was taken and, yes, he gets pissed.
Confronting Dimwos is what sets off the terrible events in the rest of the film. There are things darker than Dimwos and they are kept within these stalagmite “test tubes,” for lack of a better word, and Roscoe uses his telekinetic powers to break them. Three demons are released that immediately kill Dimwos. Roscoe flees back into the “real world” from the very location he entered it and runs off into the woods.
One of these demons released likes to hang around cemeteries and resurrect the dead thus making sure Roscoe and everyone has a Night Of The Living Dead homage to try and survive. The other two demons, one of which is female, likes to wonder the woodland night encountering groups of humans and forcing them to commit heinous acts of murder/suicides.
In the meantime, we meet a grown-up Eva (real life wife Ashleigh Jo Sizemore) who’s also having a pretty bad day. Apparently these zombies are making a bloody mess of Moreland including Eva and her father’s farm, mostly just her father, who’s cornered, gutted and munched on in the barn. Eve and Roscoe meet again as she’s fleeing down the road in the truck and almost runs him over.
This reuniting isn’t just a long lost love thing, but one that ultimately culminates in Roscoe passing his dark gifts on to her. Which is a smart move since bullets down hurt demons, only other demons or demonic-type beings can.
In case you’re wondering who or what the demon’s rook actually is it’s this man-beast one of the demon creates, turning some poor bastard into this howling, quasimodo, Funhouse-inspired creature. Roscoe eventually encounters him, kills it then gets the idea to bring it back to life and use for it his own purposes.
The movie has the requisite bittersweet ending, more bitter than sweet, but anything other than how it ended wouldn’t have made sense. I applaud that. It didn’t try and cheat us with a tone inconsistent with the rest of the movie like, say, for example, the Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (2010) remake did.
Back on February 3rd Cinedigm released The Demon’s Rook on DVD only.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: Widescreen 1.85:1 anamorphic—English Dolby Digital Stereo—No subtitles.
Transfer is very good looking. Clear and colors are crisp and vibrant.
- Commentary with Writer/Producer/Director James Sizemore, Co-Writer/Executive producer Akom Tidwell and Producer/Editor/Director Of Photography Tim Reis
- “Goat Witch” Short Film
- Making Of A Demon
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
Commentary-wise this is a very good one. It took years to make this movie and you get all the ins and outs of how that happened. Like, I’ve heard this before, and these guys also back this up, apparently making a movie is the worst and best experience of you life, and once you’ve done it you can’t help but do it again, and again and again. Color schemes were directly inspired by Creepshow, but of course the Dario Argento influence also made it in. Just about every horror movie from the 80s inspired these guys for The Demon’s Rook; anything Stuart Gordon has ever made, aforementioned Creepshow , Inferno, and Phantasm are directly mentioned.
Goat Witch (2014) is a short film they created after making Demon’s Rook and it stars Sizemore’s wife, Ashleigh Jo, as Emelin, who shows off her naked body as much as possible. In fact in it’s entire running time she’s not clothed once. Her full frontal shots startled me momentarily since you normally don’t see full frontal nudity in any movie nowadays, even in low budget Bs, or short flicks like this one. The entire short is about a dark ritual she and this other chick are performing in an attempt to give themselves over to this “Goat Witch.” I won’t spoil anything more beyond that since it’s only 13-minutes.
Making Of A Demon is a time-lapse featurette showing Sizemore and gang creating one of their demons. It’s very good if you want to get some quick pointers on how to do that. The Deleted Scenes are nothing spectacular and it was a wise choice to have them cut out. I found the Gag Reel to be amusing.
The aspects of this movie I instantly responded to were the FX, the rural setting, since I’m rurally based myself and do respond more to rural set movies, the demon story angle/training a human, and the general hark back to 80s horror cinema which this whole thing is laced with from front to back, even down to the music at certain points. The stuff I didn’t respond to (aka was turned off by) were the murder/suicides, which are plentiful. I appreciate the FX used and the technical aspect of making them look real and such but watching people kill other people in horrible ways has never been my cup of tea and because of that I’m on the fence about how I feel about this flick. If you’re looking at it through the eyes of a 80s horror lover it is pretty much a love letter to that era, but for me who’s more a lover of monsters and creatures and the despicable things they do to us humans, the presence of the human-on-human violence keeps me from totally embracing this movie like I truly want to.
This is a first for all involved and judging by what I heard on the commentary the filmmakers seem to be more “creature” oriented, which bodes well for future movies they might create. I read in a recent interview they have an idea for a werewolf movie. I’d love to see that! They even created a whole mythos around the demons in Rook, which sounds very Lovecraftian to me, which is a good thing. I love Lovecraft and will be keeping an eye on what Sizemore and gang do from here on out.