The Devil’s Business (2012)

Directed By: Sean Hogan
Written By: Sean Hogan
Starring: Billy Clarke
  Jack Gordon
  Jonathan Hansler
  Harry Miller
The Devil’s Business

I remember being horribly disappointed that Halloween Resurrection was only 86 minutes long (despite it being bloody awful) although during that short time someone had managed to flip over a Ford Sierra in the cinema car park and set it on fire. Good old South Woodham Ferrers.

Why am I mentioning this? Well, The Devil’s Business is 69 minutes ‘long’. Viewers need to be aware of this, because some people might feel they’ve been short-changed when purchasing this ‘extended short’. Well, they shouldn’t feel like that. Stop complaining! The Devil’s Business is an important lesson that dictates length never equates to quality.

If you want Transformers-style levels of pointless length in your horror, then go an watch the lack-lustre Orphan because that’s an insane 123 minutes long! For those willing to accept a film 20 minutes short of the perceived minimum feature film length of 90 minutes, then you’ll be pleased you did.

The Devil’s Business is a tense, disturbing, chilling character-piece that is shocking, compelling and brilliantly made.

Typical London gangster Bruno (Harry Miller) has sent two hit-men to murder his old business friend Kist (Jonathan Hansler). The killing team consists of the consummate professional Pinner (Billy Clarke) and nervous newcomer Cully (Jack Gordon) and they wait patiently in Kist’s house for him to return home from the opera.

While waiting for Kist, the two assassins make some strange discoveries around the house, finding some occultist symbols and something truly horrific wrapped in a rag. Shaken and disturbed, they think about leaving… but Kist shows up early and everything goes hideously wrong.

To say anymore would be spoilerific, and at 69 minutes that would be a travesty. The plot is solid and constantly intriguing, with some nasty moments of brutality and some genuine surprises. Writer / director Sean Hogan has proved himself to be a superb talent and he should be damn proud of The Devil’s Business.

Some viewers may find The Devil’s Business slow and far too short – this is guaranteed – but I personally was incredibly enamoured by the quality of the production. It is a chilling little horror and a lot of the quality can be attributed to the four actors involved.

The acting in The Devil’s Business is exceptional, with a rare performance from Jonathan Hansler, who I last saw in Call of the Hunter. Billy Clarke is such a compelling actor too, managing to keep us rapt during a long talky scene (in a rather bold move by Sean Hogan) where he tells a story of a haunted nightclub. Clarke and Hansler make this constantly entertaining.

I am also quickly becoming a huge fan of Jack Gordon, who has appeared in a swathe of lower-budget horror films in the past couple of years, including Heartless, Wrong Turn 3, Panic Button and Truth or Dare. He has often been the best thing in each of these films, and it is no exception with The Devil’s Business. He is excellent throughout.

The Devil’s Business is 69 minutes long. If you can get over this and the chunky dialogue, then you will thoroughly enjoy yourself. If you prefer 100 minute long death-fests with buckets of blood, plastic breasts bouncing everywhere and endless twists ‘n’ turns, then perhaps look elsewhere. This is a quality piece of indie horror-making and well worth watching.

It’s certainly better than Halloween Resurrection.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

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