Director: Scott Francis Sowter
Cast: Serena Monzo, Jonathan Shachter, Jojo George, Amie Louise Bransgrove, Robin Queree, Brigid O’Sullivan, Justin Costello, Brendon Taylor, Mary Willett, Joshua Bowles
Synopsis: Stephanie Jackson is a newspaper journalist who is tasked with reporting on a girl who killed her parents before taking her own life. Jackson initially scoffs at theories that the Devil is involved with the homicide, until she herself looks too deeply under the surface….
I was privileged recently for Scott F Sowter to share with me his short film, The Devil Walketh About, after having also been fortunate enough to have a small role in the film myself. As such, this is a rare occasion for me, having observed a film develop at various stages. I have seen the script, been there during filming, and seen shots as they were being edited. As such, I know the work that has gone into this film, and now have been very impressed with the results.
The film is clearly independently produced, and unsurprisingly lacks the polish that comes with an endless budget. However, the film does succeed in making the audience forget that this is a film, and I found myself invested in the story, to the point I can honestly claim I was transported into this world that had been created. The copy I saw was a compressed file, so not all the visuals sparked, but I do hope to see them in their full high-def quality one day, as this would make those shots stand out more.
Sowter is clearly taking this opportunity to further develop his craft, having previously worked on other independent features such as Dead Down Under. He is experimenting with different types of shots, and I feel is in the process of defining what his filming style will be in future. Though perhaps not every experimental shot works, there are many that do, and I think he shows a lot of promise. I am well aware that he is a student of film by watching and enjoying film, our early meetings being entirely consumed with discussions of cinema. I love seeing what he is trying, and look forward to seeing it evolve further.
Sowter has also been blessed with some phenomenal actors. Early on the actor interactions on phone seem a little stilted, but as the film progresses, this does give way to some very natural performances. Monzo is great in the lead. The way that she can express fear is really quite chilling, and it is her performance that convinces an audience that there is a credible threat stalking her. There are some great performances also in the supporting roles, including Schachter as Jackson’s boss Aaron Day, whom has the unenviable task of being the man to identify the body. His grief is very convincing. Special mention should be given to Bransgrove, whom is an actress that when on the screen gave a stand out performance in a very small role. Our source of exposition, quite convincingly is Queree, whom as the parish priest informs us what on Earth is going on. It is one of those occasions I enjoyed an exposition scene, to Queree’s credit. Then of course, there is the crime scene investigator whom appears very briefly at the bookends of the film. He had only one line of dialogue, but I think that the actor in that role shows a lot of promise…. *cough* shameless self-promotion *cough*
The most important mark of a film is how you feel about it when the end credits role. For me, this was a thoroughly entertaining example of low-budget but effective horror. I would be delighted to see it succeed and be exhibited one day! Sowter has a promising future ahead, I am sure.
3.5 stars out of 5