After her mother and her mother's boyfriend are killed in a suspicious house fire, Debbie Strand (Rose McGowan) is sent to live with her grandmother. In typical trash movie fashion, the grandmother is a bible-thumping disciplinarian who is convinced that she can undo years of Debbie's presumed hedonism with some "correctional therapy." Meanwhile, at her new high school, Debbie develops a crush on one of her teachers, Mr. Rinaldi (Alex McArthur).
The driving force of the film is that Debbie, when faced with a challenge, is happy to meet it in the most violent manner possible. I began to wonder if her old high school offered an advanced class in body handling and disposal, because Debbie tears into the local population with a vengeance. First she gasses her grandmother's dog Bibi to death with bug spray ("Hasta la vista, Bibi"), then bludgeons Grandma to death with a bat, and when the local jock tries to get at her goodies, she impales him on a handy ski pole.
With the preliminaries out of the way, Debbie concentrates on her impression of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, with Mr. Rinaldi in the role of Michael Douglas. It's a tired plot with a tired cast, and the dialogue, especially McGowan's, offers little in the way of entertainment. You'll get a feel for the movie's sensibilities when I say that one of the high points is Debbie's murder of her grandmother, because the old bat is the only person in the film more unlikable than Debbie herself. As Debbie puts it, "It's a family thing."
Yuo can read Stomp Tokyo's full review here.
Even for one of Simitar's sub-standard discs, this one pretty much bites. Since the "film" was likely shot on video anyway, it's not as if the source material helped much. Even during full daylight sequences, the scenery is swathed in darkness -- an experience much like sitting in a dollar theater where the projectionist has reduced the bulb to half-power in a misguided attempt to make it last longer. Sometimes the picture perks up a bit, as in the scenes that take place at night, but if the picture didn't improve at those points, there would be nothing to see.
The menus are, as usual, baffling: "Random Access?" Arrows that point towards each side of the screen with no clear meaning as to what they might do when selected? Familiar landmarks on Simitar discs, but the uninitiated will flounder helplessly, and even the DVD afficianado will be annoyed. There are a mere eight chapter stops to break up the film, but somehow I doubt you'll be flipping around looking for your favorite scene in Devil in the Flesh.
The only "extra" on this disc is a ridiculously half-hearted "Film Facts" screen. The only facts that one couldn't glean from the credits are that the movie lasts ninety-one minutes and that its alternate title is Dearly Devoted.
Chris Holland, 7/17/00