In the opening credits alone, The Devil’s Hand (previously named Where the Devil Hides, The Devil’s Rapture, and The Occult) already gives you a hint to lower your expectations – a prophecy rooted in the default omen 666 concerning nubile teen girls.
On the other hand, the last horror movie that’s been done about the Amish community is from Deadly Blessing, so maybe the writer and the director have something creative in store.
The performances here are good. The younger leads – Alycia Debnam Carey, Adelaide Kane, and Leah Pipes – hold their own against familiar experienced ones – Colm Meaney, Rufus Sewell, and Jennifer Carpenter.
The cinematography is decent enough to make things look interesting. The movie plays with shadows and offers some good compositions. The production design is able to portray a plausible Amish community.
Unfortunately, these elements are wasted because the script doesn’t make an effort to develop its potential elements and push its premise to tweak the slasher flick formula.
The Amish community could have been a creepy isolated place with a world of its own but remains vague and nondescript. A pervert Deacon who rules by using some outdated religious nonsense to scare its people is a potent set-up for a good old fashion religious criticism (and maybe some dark humor too) but it’s glossed over.
The film prefers to be a generic PG-13 teen slasher horror flick complete with a contrived set-up love story, a SCREAM-esque killer, and a wild party to lure the innocent girls to the dark side.
The actors are underused because of one-dimensional characters. Carpenter is left to scowl while Sewell is left to worry. Meaney fits the role well but he’s a cardboard villain. The younger leads don’t have much to work with.
The body count is high but the deaths are meaningless and uninteresting. The stalk-and-slay tactics are stale. Even a dumb character in a stereotypical movie wouldn’t go down a well to hide, well until now.
Just when the film is about to end, you get a glimpse of what the movie could have been. The Devil’s Hand gives a nod to the bloody horror of the classics – Carey shows that she’s perfectly capable of pulling it off – but it’s too little too late.
The Devil's Hand
The Devil's Hand has good performances and cinematography wasted on a mediocre script that settles for a cliched teen slasher flick.