Devil by Design? – The Devil’s Hand (2014)

The Devil's Hand 6
The Devil’s Hand is a 2014 film that features a story about a prophecy affecting five girls in an Amish community and of one in particular that may or may not be, if not the devil, at least a demon of some sort. Of course, every film with a prophecy needs at least one fanatic who believes it to be true and that man takes the form of Colm Meaney who seems to want what is best as the Elder for his parish, but is really just a pervert when it comes right down to it. Opposite him is Rufus Sewell who plays the father to the lead protagonist of the film and coincidentally one of the girls in Alycia Debnam-Carey who is caught in the middle of the two men. Debnam-Carey plays Mary, a girl who just wants to have a little fun with her friends, yet the prophecy of who they are and what they might become has weighed heavily on them since their birth and it tempers everything that they do. Soon, whether it is by fate or design, that prophecy starts to come true.

The Devil's Hand 7As far as movies about possession go, The Devil’s Hand is pretty tame. For the most part, it is more melodrama than anything else as we see Mary and her friends do all the things that normal teenagers do. They hang-out, break the rules, flirt with boys and so on. If you did not know that you were watching a feature film, you could almost swear that this was a show on ABC Family or the CW. Even by standards of horror, the movie has little to offer and while the actions of Elder Beacon could be considered horrific, it is not until the end of the film when things finally start to pick up and the usual horror tropes come into play. Possession can be a great subject for a horror film and if they had played it up a bit more and expanded upon what we saw come the conclusion of the movie, perhaps this one would have worked a bit better.

The Devil's Hand 16The subject of prophecy has also been done better in films ranging from The Omen to lighter fare like the aptly titled The Prophecy. This particular angle was executed a little better because it was talked about quite a bit during the picture and figured into the actions of many of the characters, but again, it kind of went hand in hand with its end result and it ultimately took too long to get there.

Debnam-Carey, Sewell and Meaney were fantastic with their performances and the film is worth seeing for those alone. Jennifer Carpenter rounds out the cast with Thomas McDonell and it was nice to see Carpenter in something a little different from the roles she usually takes. Still, good performances aside, it would have been nice to see the film play up the horror more than it did as the movie was marketed as such. While the film was enjoyable on one level, it failed on another and was a bit of a letdown. Good and filled with potential, but not good enough.

3 out of 5
The Devil's Hand 1

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