Made in 2013 and released to the festival circuit in 2014 under the name Sleep Walkers, Writer/Director Ryan Lightbourn’s All the Devils are Here has finally gotten a VOD release and makes a pretty solid splattery splash. Filmed over two weeks for $30,000 (give or take), Lightbourn takes full advantage of every opportunity and has put together a love letter to 80s video horror without giving in to the temptation to wallow in nostalgia or go cheesy.
The basic story is pretty familiar: five friends go to a vacation house in the Florida backwoods on the weekend the gates of hell decide to open up. At the same time, a couple of inmates escape from a prison van thanks to some demonic intervention. The devils pouring out of the swamp also have an infectious bite that will kill you and turn you into a devil too!
There’s literally a little something in here for everybody. There’s bikini and swimsuit time for eye candy, there’s romantic intrigue to develop character, there’s folklore and things that go bump in the night to get the story moving, and there’s a ton of goopy, bloody, gross-out practical gore effects.
All the Devils are Here does take a little bit of time to get moving as the first half hour or so is mostly set-up with some freaky shit happening on the fringes, but the performances are solid and when the dialogue gets a little awkward, the actors have enough personality and charisma to keep the film on track. Ben Owen as the douchebag Brit, Owen, is the highlight and is given the most to do from a character perspective. It’s his house, he’s a dick, and he’s jealous of the fifth-wheel, Evan (Tommy Goodman). Evan is a bit boring, and the other characters, Kate (Ansley Gordon), Kyle (Ben Evans), and Amy (Amanda Dela Cruz) all lack definition.
If we were stuck with just these characters, I don’t think the film would work as well as it does, but halfway through we are introduced to musclebound shopkeeper Kenny (prolific porn actor, Dale DaBone) and convict-on-the-run Tre (Doo-Doo Brown). Kenny’s determination to get Tre to the police helps give the film a secondary narrative drive that crosses paths with our twenty-somethings taking mushrooms and dancing around a campfire story.
And while Kenny is fairly one-note, it’s a decidedly different note from everyone else, so it’s refreshing. But it’s still Tre who ends up providing the energy and entertainment to balance Owen’s dickishness. It’s just unfortunate that it takes so long to get Owen and Tre on-screen together.
On the plus side, though, once the shit goes down, things get really weird really fast.
Making great use of their limited budget, Lightbourn is able to make three actors playing devils seem like dozens, cutting quickly and efficiently, using darkness to isolate the characters and create tension, while getting as much use as possible out of the simplified but disturbing monster design. And when we learn where all these demonic bastards are coming from, it’s one of the most disturbing visual effects I’ve seen in ages that not only serves as an over-the-top gore effect, but also sets up the dark climax of the film without having to over-explain the fate of our final girl.
And as a side note to prospective low-budget filmmakers out there, if you can afford to rent a small plane or a helicopter, or even a drone, to snag some aerial shots, do it. You cannot imagine the cinematic value they bring to your production.
With an open ending that can stand on its own or lead to potential sequels, All the Devils are Here is an extremely entertaining throw-back to 80s low-budget horror, making great use of limited resources to provide a gross-out, practical effects monster movie that would be just as at home at a drive-in or at a sleepover.
All the Devils are Here is currently available on most VOD platforms.