Director Heidi Lee Douglas’s “Devil Woman” is kind of a jumbled mess of a horror movie that has a ton of potential. On one side of the coin it tries to be a horror movie about feral monsters spreading their virus through a bite. On the other side of the coin it tries to an environmentally conscious tale about Tasmanian Devils suffering from hideous cancer destroying the population. It’s tough to get sucked in to a horror movie about feral monsters when the movie bookends the tale with an actual picture of a disfigured Tasmanian Devil suffering from cancer.
“Devil Woman” starts off well enough, either way. A trio of women is trying to prevent loggers from destroying a large mass of woods. One of the women gets proof of hungry Tasmanian Devils living in a large tree. When she attempts to film them with her camera, she’s bitten on the hand. When she returns to camp, she and her friends are harassed by two loggers, and the bite begins to transform her in to a frothing, rabid monster that attacks everyone in sight. Heidi Lee Douglas’s horror film has a great tone to it with some neat direction, and I quite loved the build up to the big attack in the climax.
It ultimately feels like the prologue to a pretty creative and intense horror movie about rabid monsters spreading their disease in the vein of 2010’s “Primal.” It’s all kind of destroyed though with the picture of actual animals suffering from hideous skin cancer and deformities. It’s tough to suspend disbelief when you’re featuring actual cases of skin disease. It’s almost like giving us a zombie movie and then showing pictures of victims of hideous skin decay. It just absolutely decimates the inherent horror, as well as kills the momentum of the horror film. That said before the final scene, “Devil Woman” is an okay horror short with a neat idea.
The Final Girls Berlin Film Festival runs every year from January 31st to February 3rd.