14 April 2020

It's Amateur Hour On Netflix

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At the start of the week, I had to have my dog of fourteen and a half years put to sleep and yet watching Mark Of The Devil was probably the worst thing I've experienced over the last few days. Not really. Obviously. But you get my point. The dog thing was like having my heart ripped out whereas watching this film was more like I was being lightly kicked in the head for a bit. I'd spotted the film on Netflix and so figured I'd give it a whirl but despite only having a running time of about 80minutes I swear to God that it must have been on for about five fucking days. By the time that the film was finally over, I'd grown facial hair, lost weight, and reality was now tinged with this surreal dream-like edge that didn't feel real. Admittedly most of that was probably down to the dog situation but there's no denying that getting through Mark Of The Devil was like being stranded on a desert island with only rocks to lick and suicide to contemplate for entertainment. The film itself is about a group of people getting possessed by a.. thing? That's about as much as I can tell you because the whole film was so painfully tedious that my concentration began to lapse and I was forced to retreat to that safe-room in my Mind Palace. It was as though I was a fucking torture victim. I swear that Terry Waite would have found himself with more to think about as he spent five years chained to a fucking radiator than I did whilst watching this piece of shit film.

The story focuses on a small family who comes into possession of what looks like the Necronomicon from Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead. I'm aware that Raimi didn't come up with the idea of this book of the dead and that Mark Of The Devil is drawing as much inspiration from Lovecraft as anything else but come on?! At least make the fucking thing look a little bit different. The prop for the book here is so close to the one in Raimi's iconic masterpiece that I just assumed it was a special edition DVD boxset and the family were about to spend an evening watching Bruce Campbell getting groovy with his mischievous right hand. I don't mean wanking. Obviously. But no. It's an evil book that they decide to open up and read because of course they fucking did. When was the last time you saw a bunch of kids decide to hang out so that they could just have a read together? Because I'm sure it would have been pre-World War One and they'd have all met up on their fucking penny-farthings with a gallon of ginger-beer to get fucking giddy off. Not only that but the book that they decide to read looks fucking rank. The cover of it literally seems to be made out of the scabbiest arse-holes from a herd of rancid cows. It's so horrible that even Ed Gein would have worn gloves to save getting dirty from touching it and let's not forget that his gloves were made from the skin of dead people's fucking hands. 

But from here one of the girls that reads the book appears to become possessed by a thing? I don't know what. But it manifests itself when she's at a nightclub and starts to feel sick. She runs to the bathroom only to be told that there's a queue for the toilet and that she has to get to the back of it. That's right. This film is less than ninety minutes long and even that consists of a scene in which the etiquette of what to do when needing a piss in public is discussed. An argument ensues, the sick girl gets black eyes, and then she smashes a person in the queues head against a wall. As scares in a horror movie go, this one seems to be drawing direct inspiration from a night out with fucking Girls Aloud. Not that I should be making fun of this movie I suppose. It's clearly been made on a budget of coins that were found down the back of a sofa and so I can only imagine the people involved worked really hard to make it. During this club scene, it's obvious that there are only about twelve extras that have been hired to have the place seem busy and so the frame is kept tight and everybody has been crammed together to give the impression of a crowd. Occasionally though the camera would wobble and you'd see that outside of all of the people on the screen there's nobody else fucking there. I have to admit that in this time of the coronavirus in which we're being ordered to constantly keep our distance this scene in which all of the people are squished together was truly fucking terrifying. And slightly arousing too if I'm being honest.

Two other characters appear to be possessed with this same 'thing' that the girl is. You can tell because they tend to have black liquid around their mouth and running through their veins. The problem is that this just makes it appear as though they've been chewing fucking ink cartridges. These two other characters are slightly more aware of their situation and so pace about discussing what to do as though trying to hold something demonic within themselves. Unfortunately, their direction seems to have been to act as if they're trying not to shit their pants and so, for the most part, I wasn't sure if they needed an exorcist or just a box of Imodium. Occasionally they'd puke this black gunge out of their mouths too for some reason. When the girl in the club gets to the toilet to puke out her gunge it seemed as though the films effects team had made the substance a bit too thick and the result was that she seemed to dump a turd out of her mouth. After this incident, the possessed girl then fell asleep for two solid days. When she finally wakes up her parents take her to the doctor and ask him to take her blood to find out what happened to her. But is that normal? To let your child sleep for two solid days and then take them to the doctor? All my dog did was seem extra drowsy for a few days and it turned out that her kidneys had failed. I'd argue that if your loved one has been unconscious for two days before you decide to do anything then their biggest problem is that they have a prick like you looking out for them. 

But like I say it almost feels harsh to give this movie a kicking because of how amateur its overall feel is. Even the score sounds as if it was just demo music that came free with the fucking editing package. If I'd won this film at a raffle for a neglected donkey charity I probably wouldn't have been that arsed about it. Nor would I likely have watched it. But because it was being prominently advertised on my Netflix channel I assumed it was going to be a proper film. Perhaps the people behind it think it is too, and so good luck to them. I hope they're happy with what they've made and I wish all the luck in the world with all of their future endeavours. Not in terms of films. Obviously. But if they ever find themselves in need of a job then the service industry is usually taking on somewhere. I tried to do a bit of research into the making of this film because I was curious what its budget might have been and how it ended up getting distributed on this streaming service. This turned out to be a little trickier than I'd expected when it turned out that the film didn't even have a Wikipedia page. I mean how the fuck is that possible? There's a bloke that lives near me that keeps getting arrested for touching young men's muscles and even he has his own Wikipedia page. I ended up finding the film in the end but only by searching for its original Spanish title of El Mal del Gran Turd. Not really. It's La Marca del Demonio but even then there was so little information that I can only imagine that the film was made as a front for some criminal organisation to launder their drugs money through. In which case I'd still argue that this film is their worst crime. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time. 

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