Cathy (Jackie Falcon), Michael (Devin Caldarone), and Ted (Bryan Sapphire) decide to rob a small-town bank with millions of dollars and no security. Unfortunately, one of the bank’s customers is Lucifer, and when his money is taken, he takes it personally. And so there will be (resigned sigh) “Hell to pay” in the supernatural noir crime thriller The Devil’s Heist.
There are movies a reviewer doesn’t know what to do with, and The Devil’s Heist is one of them. By every metric, the film, directed by Fernando Acevedo, and written by Sandra Rosko, Sophia Louisa, and Bryan Sapphire, is a terrible movie. Adjectives like sloppy and amateurish don’t even scratch the surface. However, there is something raw, and (dare I say) interesting here. These aspirations outstrip talent, the lack of concern for storytelling conventions, and unconvincing special effects. It feels like the cinematic equivalent of outsider art or a punk band.
Unfortunately, what could have been a vaguely interesting short subject is padded out with gratuitous cursing and nonsensical plot tangents until the viewer loses all interest in who is doing what to whom. All too soon, the film devolves into something that looks as if it were made simply as an excuse to hang out with friends. Far too quickly, The Devil’s Heist devolves from a gutsy punk rock statement to an uncomfortable home movie.
It’s a film that is so easy to dunk on that I’m honestly not sure if the filmmakers were entirely serious. Many times I asked myself, “Is this supposed to be a satire of bad genre movies?” or “Is this an elaborate practical joke?” Either option is a possibility since the promotional material is so superior to the film itself.
“…rob a small-town bank…unfortunately, one of the bank’s customers is Lucifer…”
I mean, leave aside the fact that most of the scenes look like they were shot in the same strip mall and the fact that all these “evil” characters curse as convincingly as a homeschooled Mormon child in a community theater production. Ignore the picture and sound quality that feel like it was shot on a flip phone. Forget about the bad special effects that look like they were produced on the cheaper Eastern Bloc version of Adobe After Effects.
At its core, The Devil’s Heist is a caper flick about criminals stealing from a criminal. The video store shelves and the drive-in movie theaters have a long and glorious history of terrible films that didn’t live up to their poster. Maybe this was intentional? Perhaps the filmmakers’ whole plan was to lure us in, and sucker punch us so that future generations could once again experience that particular disappointment us old folks grew up with. Of course, looking over the other offerings of the production company, they’re either really committed to this comedy bit, or they’re just not very good filmmakers.
Oh, and not to be a pedantic a**hole, but the name of the movie is The Devil’s Heist. This would imply that the devil is committing the heist. That would not imply that the devil is the victim of a heist. I’ve rolled it around in my head, and there is no interpretation of the narrative that would make the title make sense.
I am all for encouraging anyone with an idea to pick up a camera and make a film. Be aware, however, not everyone will get your vision. To the cast and crew of The Devil’s Heist, I can only humbly apologize for this review. But you kinda brought it on yourselves.
"…padded out with gratuitous cursing and nonsensical plot tangents..."