Demon Knight finds a man who is being stalked by a demon taking refuge in a low-rent motel. When the demon and its brethren catch up to the man, things become particularly dicey for him and those around him.
Straight off, I have to say that Demon Knight is an effects bonanza. Among all the things it has going for it, that is perhaps the best. We get to see a bevy of green-eyed monsters in all of their gooey glory. The effects are disgusting, brutal, and totally practical.
Demon Knight was made for a somewhat modest budget by Hollywood standards but every penny is put to effective use. The bulk of the funding seems to have been allocated to effects and that was a really smart decision. Casting rising stars allowed for more money to be spent on accomplishing the kind of effects that fans had come to expect from the Tales from the Crypt brand.
Interestingly enough, this film has many of the characteristics of a home invasion thriller with a monstrous twist. A motley crew of hotel guests must band together like a family and fight off the evil attempting to invade their dwelling. Demon Knight is surprisingly suspenseful and also delivers some legitimate scares. It’s a clever blending of action and horror, something we don’t really see all that often outside of the video game horror and superhero horror genres.
Demon Knight features a really impressive cast of (mostly) up-and-comers, including future Oscar nominee Thomas Haden Church, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and CCH Pounder. Everyone, even the minor players turn in good performances. In addition to the core cast, there are some great supporting performances from a variety of talented performers, including veteran character actor Dick Miller.
The characters are likable and well-scripted. William Sadler is great as Brayker and his backstory is interesting and never seems contrived. Billy Zane delivers an impressive showing as The Collector. He is charismatic and really steals the show in a lot of ways. He brings an energy to the production that it’s hard to imaging anyone else replicating.
The script didn’t originate as a Tales from the Crypt story and that’s fairly obvious. It isn’t the traditional morality tale that we’ve come to expect from Tales but that doesn’t hurt the film at all. In fact, it’s kind of a nice change of pace that would have been nice to have seen carried on in future efforts. If Bordello of Blood hadn’t been such a troubled production with such a tepid critical and fan response, we may likely would have seen more pictures in the Tales from the Crypt cannon.
As for special features, this blu-ray disc does not disappoint. There is a great making of featurette included, along with a Q&A session at The Egyptian. The making of featurette is nearly forty minutes long and reveals a much happier production than Bordello of Blood and that shows in the finished product. The transfer is crips, the audio quality is clear. Scream Factory delivers once again! The film is available on Blu-ray now.
WICKED RATING: 7/10
Director(s): Ernest Dickerson
Writer(s): Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris, and Mark Bishop
Stars: Billy Zane, William Sadler, Jada Pinkett Smith
Release: October 20, 2015 Blu-ray
Studio/ Production Co: Scream Factory
Budget: $13 Million (Estimated)
Length: 92 Minutes