Producers: Miles Doleac, Lindsay Anne Williams, Wesley C. O’Mary and James Victor Bulian Director: Miles Doleac Screenplay: Miles Doleac and Michael Donovan Horn Cast: Rachel Nichols, Yohance Myles, Miles Doleac, Lindsay Anne Williams, Elena Sanchez, Rachel Ryals, Sarah Fisher, Christian Stokes, Chima Chekwa, Manon Pages, Tatiana Piper, Sherri Eakin, Mike Mayhall and Jeremy London Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
You have to have a degree of sympathy for filmmakers who pursue their dreams despite a singular lack of talent and meager resources. Perhaps someday a Tim Burton will happen along who will do for them what he did for their best-known colleague Ed Wood. On the basis of his work thus far, Miles Doleac might soon rival Uwe Boll as this generation’s prime claimant to the crown.
This time around, Doleac offers a horror movie. Taking advantage of his doctorate in ancient history, he and co-writer Michael Donovan Horn have concocted a script about the reemergence of Cernunnus (or Cernnunos), a horned Celtic deity regarded as the lord of the forest and the hunt. In their tale, set in Germany’s Black Forest, the creature is woken from his slumber by a trio of witches who are his acolytes—Hettica (Lindsay Anne Williams), Letara (Elena Sanchez) and Fell (Sarah Fisher), along with their lumbering assistant Grimur (Christian Stokes). Cernunnus (Chima Chekwa, wearing a rubber mask with antlers—and sometimes glowing red eyes—and growling his lines in muffled tones) is roused by sacrifices they make to him by capturing hikers who have the temerity to trespass in his woods.
That’s bad news for Robin and Leo Murphy (Rachel Nichols and Yohance Myles), who arrive to claim ownership of the rustic house that her deceased grandfather Karl (Jeremy London, appearing in flashbacks) left her in his will. They’re accosted in the forest by gruff farmer Arthur Fuchs (Doleac), who’s out hunting with his little granddaughter Amalia (Rachel Ryals). He tells them the fearful tale of Cernunnus, which of course they dismiss as local folklore—a terrible mistake. It’s not long before they’ve been captured and staked out in the woods—along with Arthur, Amalia, and other hapless passersby.
From this point the movie turns into a tedious collection of escapes, pursuits, bloody deaths and confrontations in which Cernunnus, a garrulous fellow who pontificates endlessly on all sorts of matters and threatens everyone, finally engaging, for some reason, in a prolonged tussle with Grimur while the survivors attempt to get away.
“Demigod” wants to be suspenseful and scary, but it’s so inept that it merely proves risible—though not sufficiently so as to become enjoyably campy. The dialogue is atrocious, especially laughable when some of the actors deliver it in terrible German accents, and the acting is strictly of amateur-night quality. The threadbare visuals—a skimpy production design by Julie Toche, frenziedly murky camerawork by Nathan Tape, hectic editing by Keith J. Hollingsworth—are matched by the blustery score and sound design by Clifton Hyde.
This is one of those pictures where you can’t resist quoting from the script. Early on a character intones, “Pain is necessary”—a sentiment it proceeds to demonstrate for both the characters and viewers, before repeating it again near the close. There’s also the moment when Leo angrily shouts, “This is a bag of hot s***,” something with which one can readily agree.
Still, you have to admire Doleac for remaining undeterred in his quest to make a masterpiece. Or maybe not. He also teaches filmmaking at a New Orleans college, and one can only shudder at the thought of all the students who might be inspired to follow in his footsteps.