J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Devil’s Domain: Going Offline with Satan

Apparently, even Satan thinks social media is evil, so take that Mark Zuckerberg. It turns out he is also a really hot she—or at least that is the form the Evil One will assume while tempting a bullied lesbian teen in Jared Cohn’s Devil’s Domain (trailer here), which opens tomorrow in New York.

Ever since she misinterpreted the feelings of her former BFF, Lisa Pomson has been relentlessly bullied by the popular 90210 kids at school. Even her childhood sweetheart gets in on the attack capturing her binge-and-purge moments and autoerotic interludes on spy-cams. When the video goes viral, the only people who will still talk to her are Bill, her likable step-dad and the smoking hot Destiny, whom she meets online.

Of course, Destiny is really the Devil, who has already been stalking her tormentors, 1980s slasher movie style. You’d think when members of your social circle started dying grisly deaths that subsequently get posted to the internet, you would try to start leveling your karma, but not these kids. Regardless, Destiny easily exploits Pomson’s desire for revenge and her sexual attraction to lure the teen into a classic Faustian bargain.

So, Domain basically serves up some demonic horror mixed with teen melodrama and lesbian sex, all brought to you by the same distributor that released The Black Room. If that doesn’t inspire confidence, consider the fact it was helmed by Cohn, who previously directed the hugely satisfying The Horde (albeit in a meathead kind of way). Frankly, Domain is not nearly as sex-obsessed as Room (how could it be?), but Cohn still exploits Linda Bella’s pin-up model looks to the fullest. Not much chance of Hell freezing over with her steaming up the joint.

As Pomson, Madi Vodane is convincingly angsty and horny, which basically means she is a believable teenager. The rest of her fellow teens are sufficiently obnoxious, but that is about the only variety they come in. Michael Madsen basically just talks in a husky voice and looks concerned as Bill. Cohn never has him cut off an ear or anything like that. Without question, Dave Huber is the most interesting mortal adult, providing a thin tether to reality as the tough but fair teacher, Mr. Gretten.

Whatever you say about Domain, nobody can deny Bella makes an impression. It should definitely lead to more femme fatale temptress work for her. Cohn’s screenplay also genuinely taps into very legitimate fears about cyber-bullying and the erosion of privacy. Still, its nearly as fun as watching a former Navy SEAL chop through a clan of inbred hillbilly freaks. Fans of dark and heavy alternative rock will also appreciate the soundtrack, which includes Iggy and the Stooges. This film certainly delivers what it promises and it is never dull, so if you are in the mood for a midnight movie you could do far worse than Devil’s Domain when it opens tomorrow (5/19) in New York, at the Cinema Village.

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