THE DEVONSVILLE TERROR (1983)
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In 1683 in the rural town of Devonsville, three women where arrested and put to gruesome deaths, accused of being witches. The last one to die was indeed a witch and cursed the town with her final breaths. Three centuries later to the day, three young women, including the new school teacher, Jenny (Suzanna Love from The Boogey Man) arrive in the small town. As the new ladies are of modern thinking and behavior, they soon garner unwanted attention in this backward thinking community. The male descendants of those who, 300 years earlier, sent the three women to their deaths, start to become afraid that these women are reincarnations of the suspected witches and back for revenge. As strange occurrences creep over the town, the men plot to stop these new suspected ‘witches’ before they can have their vengeance on the citizens of Devonsville.
Flick is directed by Ulli Lommel, a german filmmaker who also directed the cult favorite The Boogey Man. While it’s basically as bad as that movie, it’s nowhere near as fun. The story, written by Lommel, along with George T. Lindsey and wife and star Suzanna Love, is tedious and slow going with very sparse supernatural activity until it’s climactic scene. Most of the running time, save for the opening scene set in 1683, is a bunch of bigoted and paranoid men seeing everything these three women do as suspicious and evidence they are witches. Obviously, there are feminist messages here about the oppression of women by ignorance and misogynist thinking, but it’s hard to take them seriously when the men are proven right about at least one of these modern-thinking women being a devil in disguise. Also, it makes no sense that such a sheltered community would bring in a stranger from the outside to teach their kids…not that much logic was evoked here anyway. Some of the scenes meant to serious are laughable, such as widower Walter (Paul Wilson) trying to seduce Jenny with a violin and most of the locals are just continually creepy. The FX are all pretty poor, especially the few visual ones. There is some laughable gore at the climax, as well as, a demon incarnation that literally looks and moves like a muppet. The dialogue is pretty terrible and even at less than 90 minutes the film feels like at least two hours.
The cast are pretty much wooden across the board. Even a veteran like Donald Pleasence…not sure how he got dragged into this…seems to be delivering his lines very by-the-numbers. Star Suzanna Love is perky and cute, but not all that much of an actress. She has a couple of nude scenes so, at least here is that. The rest of the supporting cast give forgettable performances and the flat reciting of the terrible dialogue only enhances the lack of any real energy or passion in the performances.
Overall, this is a pretty forgettable flick. There are a few scenes that have a little impact, mostly the cruel opening sequence, but it’s mostly a snoozer. The Boogey Man may have been a fairly bad film, too, but at least it was fun to watch. Even a veteran like Donald Pleasence seems to perform as if he wished he was elsewhere and the laughably bad make-up and gore takes any impact away from the climactic scene. Not much to recommend here unless, like me, you just have to see this stuff for yourself.
2 muppet-like demon incarnations.