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The Devil’s Left Hand


‘…doesn’t resolve any issues about the ambidextrousness of Auld Nick, but it’s better than average genre fare for addicts looking for something new…’

Of course, the first thing that came to mind was a song, originally by Steve Earle on his album Copperhead Road, covered by Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings amongst others. But that’s The Devil’s Right Hand; The Devil’s Left Hand is a straight up possession thriller from director Harley Wallen, who also features here as an actor. Wallen marked himself out as a talent to watch with last year’s Ash and Bone, a backwoods horror that was light of gore and instead offered up more characterisation than might be expected from a genre film, and The Devil’s Left Hand similarly does well to deliver unease on a tight indie budget.

We jump straight in with a New Orleans séance gone wrong; Vesna (Aphrodite Nikolovski) is supposedly in charge, but starts talking in a sinister deep voice. The friends gathered are shocked to find that a demon has come through to torment them. ‘The dead can’t lie’ one character notes, but they can mess with your head, and that’s particularly worrying for Richie (Kris Reilly) and Cassidy (Kaiti Wallen). Ritchie shot his own father when he was 10, defending his mother Sharon (Lauren Landon) who is now confined to a hospital bed, and he fears that the séance has left the door open for his dead father (Yan Birch) to return.

I didn’t see 2019’s Agramon’s Gate, but looking at the trailer, it’s the same film repackaged under a different title here. Gnarly hands reach out from under the couch, grasping for the ankles as Richie and his friends try to figure out who is possessing who; the closest analogy for the film would be the mutual suspicion featured in several version of The Thing. Waller has a significant role himself as paranormal expert Zeb, and his film has a nice line in humour; when Ritchie grabs a baseball bat to defend himself against an unknown assailant, his girlfriend suggests his stance would be appropriate ‘in case someone throws you a baseball…’ There’s also a few strange lines; it’s fine that Zeb should offer up some kind of holy spear to help resolve the situation, but his assertion that the same weapon was used to ‘kill Dracula’ seems open to a few questions.

‘There’s too many layers for most to push through,’ someone remarks of the protective layer that protects the characters in The Devil’s Left Hand from their demonic opposition, but push through we do. Waller bats better than most when it comes to subtle use of effects, plus robust character and an original story, and leans into genre expectations by casting Landon, something of a Larry Cohen veteran from It’s Alive 3, two Maniac Cop films, and the classic hardboiled action flick I, The Jury. Cohen is one of the great names of indie film, and Waller clearly has the right kind of grounded talent to follow in his footsteps. The Devil’s Left Hand doesn’t resolve any issues about the ambidextrousness of Auld Nick, but it’s better than average genre fare for addicts looking for something new.


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  1. If a baseball bat is effective against the forces of evil, surely a gun would be better…is this movie not set in America, land of the free and home of the 2nd Amendment?

  2. Who says the dead can’t lie?
    I mean seriously, if people are going to lie and lie and lie their whole life, why does dying suddenly change that? That sounds like a made up rule to me. How about, once you die, you can’t possess anyone? Or all dead people automatically become vegetarians?
    Oh, I like that one. a big middle finger to the whole zombie genre….

    • I do agree, who makes these rules, and what happens when they get broken? What potential sanctions are involved? We can’t just let the dead away with anything…

      • I’m thinking of making an indie movie where I explore the option to take back control. We the living are going to start making the rules and the dead better pay attention, and good!

        • They’ve had things their own way for too long. Tax them! Knock them off their perch!

          • Bunch of lazy clods, just lying around. I say it’s about time they pay their fair share and either go work in nuclear plants without safety gear (thus minimizing costs) or voluntarily turn themselves into soylent red. Green is so yesterday…

            • And they lying all the time, their news tv shows are full of false accusations and partisan politics…they’ve had an easy ride for too long…

                  • Shoot. I’d forgotten we have to die someday too.
                    Well, then, we should start some legislation so once we’re dead we have a very cushy lifestyle.

                    • I have a 401k that kicks in if and when I take part in a death related activity. But let’s die another day, we have so much to live for, namely persecuting the dead! They’ve had things their own way for too long!

  3. Maybe. Looks like they did it on a shoestring alright, but if the story’s there and he has some ability to build suspense it might work.

    • I didn’t fancy the trailer at all, but this film actually is that kind of indie with restraint that manages to get a story across. Worth a look if you like this vibe.

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