Robin (Rachel Nichols, Conan the Barbarian, Inside) has just inherited the house and property of her grandfather whom she hasn’t seen since he and her father had a falling out when she was six. He was a huntsman who lived in Germany’s Black Forest. Demigod would be a short movie if it was me, I’d hire a lawyer to handle it and stay the hell away. But you know people in horror movies never do the sensible thing.
Given her memories of the place include her grandfather Karl (Jeremy London, Moon Crash, Fury of the Fist and the Golden Fleece) forcing her to eat an eye freshly cut out of a stag, why Robin would want to go back really is something of a mystery. Nonetheless, she and her husband Leo (Yohance Myles, Gothic Harvest, Demons) fly out to take a look at the property.
They’re barely there when they meet one of the dead man’s friends, Arthur, played by the film’s director Miles Doleac (The Dinner Party, Hallowed Ground). He tells them the legend of the “Hunter’s Forest” and its legacy of missing people. They don’t believe him, at least not yet. Given what she says he told her about the family history and it’s no surprise when the trio of witches from Demigod’s prologue reappear.
Doleac and co-writer Michael Donovan Horn have come up with a film that’s part folk horror and part Predator. Cernunnos, Lord of the Hunt and the Demigod of the title is about to return. And his followers have chosen the prey for his hunt. That includes Robin, Leo, Arthur and his young daughter Amalia (Rachel Ryals) and some obvious cannon fodder.
At ninety-five minutes Demigod is the first film I’ve seen from Doleac that hasn’t been dragged out to at least two hours. And removing much of the unneeded dialogue that he usually stuffs into his films is a major improvement. The film gets down to business a lot quicker and delivers a lot more of what the audience tuned in for.
The scenes of the hunt through the dark woods are nicely shot even if who lives and dies is no big surprise. Cernunnos (Chukwuma Onwuchekwa, Tall Girl) is suitably imposing as the demigod. Unfortunately, he has what looks like a bull’s horns the stag’s antlers he’s usually pictured with. His witchy three servants, Hettica (Lindsay Anne Williams, Bo & the UFO), Fell (Sarah Fisher, Son) and Latara (Elena Sanchez, Vengeance: A Love Story, Delirium) have a creepy appearance but don’t really contribute as much to Demigod as I hoped they would.
While not a great film, Demigod has its moments and is the best thing I’ve seen from the director. There are a couple of actual surprises in the way events play out after the hunt itself. Most of the time the plot moves along fast enough that you don’t notice the plot holes. Or how little the woods of Mississippi look like the forests of Germany for that matter.
Gravitas Ventures will release Demigod in select theatres and on Demand on October 15th. You can check their website for more information.