Studio: Phase 4 Films
Director: David DeCoteau
Writer: Rolfe Kanefsky
Producer: Marco Colombo, David DeCoteau
Stars: Courtney B. Turk, Ryan Walker, R.J. Cantu, Jessica Morris, Helene Udy, Nikki Breanne Wells, Kayla Radomski, Morgan Dixon, Layla Zova, Aaron Ryan, Lisa London, Megan Myrehn, Darcy DeMoss
A cursed charm bracelet that can grant its wearer six wishes before stealing a soul wreaks havoc in a sorority house.
The release of “666: Devilish Charm” follows closely behind that of “666: Kreepy Kerry,” another David DeCoteau directed thriller. What do the two movies have in common? Judging by the trailer for “Kreepy Kerry,” only cheap production values and a reuse of the exact same house as the shooting location. Other than that, “Kreepy Kerry” appears to be an unrelated homoerotic horror film with no relation to “Devilish Charm,” though smart money bets both were cranked out at the same time. That also makes it safe to assume that the “666” in front of each title is merely a cheap ploy for favorable alphabetical listings, an old tactic occasionally employed by desperate distributors.
“666: Devilish Charm” is the flaccid tale of a sorority house besieged by a goofy version of Satan in the form of a cursed charm bracelet that can grant its owner six wishes. Use all six wishes and the devil takes the wearer’s soul. Attempt to remove the bracelet and Satan still snatches the soul. Try watching this movie and you are likely to have yours stolen as well, seeing as how the film is in hopeless need of one.
Either intentionally as part of some misguided production design to look twenty years older than it is, or unintentionally because director David DeCoteau cannot shake loose from his late 20th century straight-to-video prime, “666: Devilish Charm” looks like it was conceived and shot in 1994. Despite a copyright date of 2013, I would not question any claim that this movie actually came from a shelf of unreleased B-movies in the back of a forgotten closet at Full Moon Films.
Aside from a cameo appearance by an iPhone, “Devilish Charm” seems to go out of its way to avoid including any reference, fashion, or filmmaking technique that wouldn’t fit right into a lost episode of the USA Network’s “Silk Stalkings.” From a Zack Morris lookalike in a sleeveless hoodie-vest to a made-for-cable flat lighting scheme, you will swear that putting this movie on home video involved first pulling it forward with a time machine.
It might be when a character pops out of existence through an in-camera dissolve that wouldn’t have passed on “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” Or it might be when the soundtrack adds grunts and growls as actors without undead makeup don’t even move their mouths while supposedly portraying zombies. But at some point during “666: Devilish Charm,” any viewer still awake will wonder if the filmmakers truly believed that what they were making was good enough, or if they simply did not care.
Everything about “666: Devilish Charm” is branded with the burn of bare minimum effort and intention. Guessing that the score was composed by one man with a Casio keyboard might be too generous of an assumption. Music is credited to “Big Score Music,” an outfit whose website advertises the ability to score entire movies using licensed library tracks. Because nothing says sincere commitment to producing a quality film like using pieces created for another purpose entirely.
Best known as a prolific genre film director whose lengthy resume includes several “Puppet Master” films and midnight movie fare such as “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama,” David DeCoteau apparently missed the memo that Blockbuster Video went bankrupt. A halfhearted effort like “666: Devilish Charm” no longer has any business even trying to complete with the countless better options vying for a 21st century entertainment dollar. The idea that enough people agreed to produce and release this movie sadly proves that DeCoteau is not alone in possessing an out of touch sensibility regarding what modern audiences are willing to watch.
If there was ever a time when something like “666: Devilish Charm” could have been considered passable as genre entertainment, that time ended decades ago. Even horror thriller fans with a soft spot for throwback charm and a willingness to overlook a shabby production aesthetic have long since moved on. Sadly, there are still some filmmakers who apparently have not.
Review Score: 15