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Review: LILITH (2018)

I first reported on LILITH back in February, and it’s been a long wait to see the final film. The anthology from Alexander T. Hwang (PREY IN COLD BLOOD) revolves around various incarnations of the demon Lilith, portrayed by a different actress in each segment. In folklore, Lilith was actually the first wife of Adam. She was banished from Eden for refusing to be subservient to him and became a creature of the night in revenge.

Beginning with a showdown between Lilith (Felissa Rose VICTOR CROWLEY, SLEEPAWAY CAMP) Father Murphy (Michael Wainwright ALTAR, Mayday) and Detective Carson (Thomas Haley THE CROSSING). The scenes between the film’s segments all involve these three. Father Murphy is a priest who’s losing his faith. Carson wants revenge on Lilith for reasons explained in the first segment.

Young Love” – High school girl Brooke Carson (Brialynn Massie THE QUEEN OF SCREAMS: A HALLOWEEN SPECIAL) is having an affair with one of her teachers (Michael Jon Murphy). She ends up pregnant and when she goes to him, he threatens her. In a panic, she kills herself. Her friends who knew about the affair, rather than turn him in, opt to try to blackmail him. It gets bloody, and bloodier still when Lilith, in the form of Brooke, shows up.

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Care Taker” – Next we have Lilith (Jennifer Nangle MALVOLIA’S MEMORABLE THANKSGIVING 2, 10/31) as the caretaker of Phillip (Vernon Wells, IMPACT EVENT, CITY OF GOLD). She’s taken the form of his late wife, but he knows who she is and why she’s there. This is a much quieter segment, dealing with memories and emotion rather than visual violence up until the end. Until then, however, it lets two excellent performers play off of each other.

“Lust” – The third segment involves a couple whose marriage is going down the tubes. Darren (Colton Wheeler BRYAN, THE ROMCOM) is a sex addict and Madison (Emily Coupe) is sick of it. She bails out for some alone time, and Darren is immediately calling a number he got from a buddy. Of course, it turns out to be Lilith (Noël VanBrocklin (WITCHCRAFT 16: HOLLYWOOD COVEN) and in a second form, Pat Trimmer). A lot of guys say they want to die in bed, but I don’t think this is what they mean.

Serial Killer” – The last segment involves a serial killer (Frank Tryon). A serial killer with a foot/shoe fetish, no less. He’s in the middle of disposing of his current victim when a distraught young woman (Devanny Pinn BUS PARTY TO HELL CROSSBREED) turns up at his door. He thinks he’s getting a bonus, but we know who she really is.

And then we get the wrap up of the wrap around.

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Writer/director Hwang and writers Richard J. Aguirre, Paul McFall, and Anthony Werley (INSANE) have done a great job in spreading out the segments plots and styles while keeping within the film’s framework. Even the Lust segment, which I expected to be the weakest, was actually strong. It’s also well enjoy written, it never gives off a vibe of “You’re a man, you’re scum”. Revolving around the stories, all featuring evil men preying on women that were a concern. Thankfully, though, it never gets that heavy-handed or preachy.

The talent reaches all through the cast, too. Even smaller roles are played by familiar, up-and-coming talents like Charles Chudabala (UGLY SWEATER PARTY ESCAPE FROM ENSENADA) and Hunter Johnson (2 JENNIFER, IRRATIONAL FEAR). This level of talent really helps the film sell itself through some of the stranger moments.

The effects are good and bloody but overdone. Chronix EFX made the most of a low budget, and everybody gets red on them. The gore is also effective enough, with one mild complaint. There’s a scene where the wound looks quite real, but a prop involved is kept in shot long enough you can tell it’s a prop. Assuming you’re not too distracted by the bloody wound, that is.

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All involved with LILITH should be proud of themselves. This is a damn good film with a lot of the new talent that is breathing life into indie horror. It was worth the wait.

LILITH will be available on Amazon, Vimeo On Demand and other VOD/streaming outlets December 25th. It’s a great excuse not to deal with relatives.

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