The most challenging aspect of reviewing Devil’s Knight is deciding whether filmmaker Kenneth Correia is in on the joke, or if I’m giggling in spite of his best efforts. There are a few out-of-place and downright silly moments in the second half of the short that would lead me to believe that there’s some winking to the camera going on, but the rest of the film is played so earnest it isn’t entirely convincing. If it was going for the “so bad it’s good” genre, it didn’t go ridiculous enough.
Devil’s Knight primarily suffers from a common indie film problem, which is when ambition and resources don’t match up. Despite the film’s attempts at elevating itself with some computer effects and general digital chicanery, the film can’t get beyond such simple issues as weak frame composition, a poor sound mix or acting performances that are so ham-covered that Porky Pig would call them out on it.
For a more specific example, take the opening sequence of a police raid on a killer’s barn lair. In a scenario where we have someone killing people to the extent that a police raid is required, said police squad is made up of about 4-5 people, none of which arrived in anything resembling police vehicles. I know, it seems odd to be tripped up by this particular suspension of disbelief considering the killer in question stops automatic weapon fire with his black knight armor and feels the best weapon at his disposal is a broad sword but, again, this is resources not matching ambition. If you can’t convincingly pull off something like a police raid, perhaps you should remove the sequence from the script and work more within your means.
It may sound like I’m beating up on this film, but I’m really not. I admire the unique vision (murderous knight in a modern era!?!), and I give Correia credit for doing what he could digital effects-wise to try and shorten that resources-to-ambition gap, but overall the short didn’t work for me. Still, filmmakers got to make films, right, and if this could be something that one could consider as a practice endeavor or learning experience, then some good will come of it after all.
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