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DVD Review: The Devil’s Den

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Something about watching Kelly Hu fight is much like watching a well-done ballet. She moves like a graceful dancer and always delivers a solid performance, no matter what she is doing or who she is with. In The Devil's Den she works with some truly talented actors to give us a great low-budget horror film along the lines of Dusk to Dawn. In fact, this film is probably so far above the so-called sequels, it should have been one.

Here, Quinn and Nick are looking to make some big bucks after smuggling a load of Spanish fly from Mexico. Yes, Spanish fly. You know what Spanish Fly does when you mix it into a woman's drink. When Nick disparages the plan, Quinn decides to stop at a remote strip club they pass called The Devil's Den, to test the product.

Devon Sawa plays Quinn, a perpetual goof-off with little interest in anything other than getting laid and getting a little more money. Nick simply seems interested in women. The problem is, this particular men's club might not be all it is made out to be. In fact, the ladies here are more interested in human flesh than in dancing and taking off their clothes. So, along with our fairly horny young men and a group of flesh hungry ghouls, we are also joined by one fearless vam… sorry, ghoul hunter, and Kelly Hu as the delectable assassin, out to execute her mission.

That mission is to remain a mystery for a little while. Oh, and one imaginary swordsman; yes, I said 'imaginary swordsman.' Turns out that Quinn is an expert on Japanese swords because he is also a fan of blind swordsman Zatoichi. And so is our sword wielding warrior, Leonard, who also works for some esoteric group that hunts and kills demons, monsters, werewolves etc. Sent to the Devil's Den in search of a ghoul queen, Leonard (played by Ken Foree in a great role) plans on killing the creature with as little difficulty as possible.

Of course, this is all complicated by our newly arrived assassin, and Spanish fly-smuggling gringos. It isn't long before all heck breaks loose, with the former beauty queen dancers suddenly impaired by a bad case of ugly as crap and chewing on the people around them.
As gunfire erupts, and swords flash, body parts fly all around the place. Which is not exactly great, and I won't tell you why on that one. Yes, this is a low budget film and you can see that from some of the shots and the special effects. For Gods sake, do not let that hold you back from watching this first class little horror film. The writing is great, the plot (while overused in the last few years) is good, and the actors are way above average.

Devon Sawa turns in one of the best performances I have seen from him in a long time. Moreover, as I said before, Kelly Hu is nothing short of amazing to watch both as she fights and just to see her smile. Ken Foree plays one of his best characters of his career and I hope that if they do a sequel they keep him. Actually, keep everyone from this first film.

And yes, while Foree did have some difficulties with his sword work, he still did a pretty impressive job. Perhaps not as good as Zatoichi, who does a great job of overcoming the ghouls in a fantasy sequence. Hey, when you are stuck hiding from flesh-eating ghouls, you need a good story to pass the time.

Still, the entire film is worth watching, as I said. Lots of boobies, just enough gore to get interesting, and more humor than you might expect. Just watch out for those squirrels.

Next time you want to smuggle Spanish fly into the country just… what? You don't know what Spanish fly does? Well, it is used to get women "in the mood" shall we say. I knew a friend of a friend, who knew this guy whose cousin used it on his girlfriend and she actually did him until he died.

Sure, he died smiling, but still. So, if you young men are having trouble in that area, just contact me. I have a large supply left over. Cheap.

DVD specs:
Running time: about 90 minutes, closed captioned. Widescreen. Comes with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Surround. Features audio commentary, a 'making of' feature and in addition the screenplay can be read from a DVD-ROM on your computer. And best of all, it comes with a blooper reel. Every movie should have one.

The Devil's Den
Anchor Bay
Directed by Jeff Burr
Written By Mitch Gould
With: Steven Schub, Ken Foree, Devon Sawa, and Kelly Hu

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