Devil's Domain: A Review
by Luce Allan
Faust meets Cyberbully in Devil's Domain (2016), in which the classic deal-with-the-devil scenario collides with adolescent cruelty. After revealing her crush on her female best friend, high school student Lisa is ostracized by her friends and targeted by ruthless bullies. When the humiliation inflicted upon her culminates in a video that exposes her most intimate secrets, a beautiful woman contacts Lisa online and seduces her into meeting in person, where she reveals herself as the Devil and extends an offer to Lisa that ensures both fame and revenge. When Lisa accepts, an increasingly twisted journey begins, bringing with it death, torture, stardom, and the horrifying consequences that are tied to every deed.
Devil's Domain provides a variety of satisfying horror elements, including inventive kills, red-drenched aesthetics, and plenty of gore. Madi Vodane displays her promising talent as the lead character, and is able to deftly emote varying degrees of terror, regret, pain, and desire while still maintaining a convincing performance. Linda Bella creates a hypnotic interpretation of the Devil with her sleek and sultry delivery that can quickly turn into chilling fury. The movie escalates in intensity with every scene and manages to absorb the viewer into its consuming atmosphere, in which the raw emotions presented in the film are palpable. The theme of sexual affirmation adds another level of depth to the film, as Lisa's acceptance of her sexual orientation is cultivated through both positive exploration and the trials of ignorance and exploitation.
While Devil's Domain has several strong features, certain components of the film weaken its overall execution. Some of the teenage dialogue feels a bit forced, and the script's characterization of the Devil often falls into cliches that may pull the viewer out of the film. The tone occasionally wavers between campy and serious, and the plot can feel disorganized due to the inconsistency of tone in a few scenes. While powerful emotion bursts into the final act of the film, the ultimate consequence of Lisa's deal lacks originality in comparison to other storylines within the demon subgenre.
Devil's Domain is an absorbing film with glimmers of accomplished horror, but its tendency toward an unstable storyline and stock interpretation of classic material may be off-putting to horror movie enthusiasts.