Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Halloween movie month: Lo
Basic plot: Justin's love, April, is captured by demons. In order to try to save her, Justin summons the demon Lo to help find her.
Based on the Netflix summary, I was hoping that Lo was going to be a quirky and delightfully creepy adventure. It wasn't entirely what I expected, but it also wasn't entirely disappointing. The movie starts off with Justin performing a demonic ritual for the sake of saving April. Clearly, his love for her is strong enough to summon a demon. However, this opening doesn't really set up the story as to what is so special about April, or how strong their love is, that makes it worth doing something demonic for the sake of her. I was hoping that as the story went along, there would be an explanation as to why their love was so strong. And I was hoping that it would at least be a plausible explanation.
The ring that Justin draws to summon Lo is what protects him from Hell. As long as he stays inside that ring, he is protected. As a result, the entire film takes place with Justin seated inside of a ring on the floor in a pitch-black room, having conversations with demons outside of the ring and watching flashbacks of his relationship with April. Through the conversations and flashbacks, you come to find out more about April, and the story of her relationship with Justin. The focus is primarily on April, so you do find out a lot about her. But the story of their relationship, and why he loves her so much, will leave you feeling very unsatisfied. April does a really good job of playing the manic pixie dream girl character, but the love story itself is severely lacking.
This film plays out more like a theater production than a movie. It's interesting at times, and is certainly a different experience than what you will get from most movies. Overall, I enjoyed it. But there were some shortcomings. The costume effects were decent, especially for a low budget. But, they were clearly low-budget costume effects. The acting wasn't too bad, but it was more like theater acting - a bit overdone at times. Even though April didn't have as much screen time as some of the other characters, I think she gave the most solid and believable performance. There was decent character development, but the love story itself was too lacking. It isn't enough to just say "they love each other, alright? accept it." I want to know why characters love each other. Or, at the very least, what about them makes them worth loving. The ending is a little too predictable, so the final scene didn't have quite as much impact as it could have.
Recommendation: for fans of theater, low budge/indie films, amateur filmmakers, etc., I would say this is a rent. There aren't any scare moments, so pass if you are wanting something scary. And the love story is too underdeveloped for me, so pass if you are wanting a romantic Halloween movie as a break from the horror. Lo is more like a recording of a stage production than an actual movie, so the main people that I would recommend this to are theater folk. If you aren't much of a fan of theater though, you probably won't enjoy this as much.
Be sure to check back soon for the next review in Halloween movie month.