Clearing The Bar: Our Review of ‘Belzebuth’

Clearing The Bar: Our Review of ‘Belzebuth’

There’s nothing wrong with a fresh take on a familiar story…

The demon possession, second coming of the messiah story has been done before inside the horror genre, but what Belzebuth does allows itself to feel fresh with a Ry sense of humor as it hits the excepted beats of the narrative.

In Belzebuth, Special Agent Emanuel Ritter leads a police investigation into a series of shocking deaths that include the death of his newborn child and dissolution of his family. But after a priest from the Vatican finds a link between the murders and an ancient demon, a descent into horror ensues.

Already on Shudder and now available on DVD, Belzebuth is a solid little spin on the genre because it knows exactly when to take things seriously and when to sprinkle in the occasionally moment of sarcasm during all the horrible proceedings.

While co-writer and director Emilio Portes does allow the proceedings to drag along a little too long in this film, he works inside the genre quite well as the jump scares and set pieces all have time to feel earned and effectively chilling as the story unfolds.  That combined with his comedic background in other films allows it all to feel genuine as the occasional moment of sarcasm certainly defuses the horrible things that we see in the film.  The narrative has a real flow to it which really helps in making sure that this isn’t just another demonic possession kind of movie.

The visual effects are limited but smartly doled out to allow for more of an emotional punch as we get down the road of this story, that even the characters know is fantastic and crazy but they just can’t deny what is happening in front of their very own eyes.

With the film essentially half in Spanish and half in English this doesn’t boast an ensemble cast that is going to light the world on fire, but for those in the know there’s quite a few familiar faces in this film.

Fans will recognize Joaquin Cosio as the random Latin speaking heavy in a variety of different films like Quantum of Solace, The Lone Ranger and episodes of Narcos: Mexico but here as our hero Emanuel Ritter we see a character that has basically had the rug pulled out from underneath his entire world.  He’s a broken man who is set upon an impossible and borderline ridiculous task, but the more the narrative goes on, the more he knows this is something that he has to embrace and he delivers a strong performance.

Fans of The Endless will recognize Tate Ellington as the man from the Vatican who is very nonsense but also gives it all enough of an edge to make it feel honest instead of overly devout as he truly confronting an unimaginable evil.  Tobin Bell rounds it all out as a renegade and fairly strange man of god and it was kind of nice to see him playing a weird good guy rather than a weird bad guy.

Belzebuth isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it’s a solid entry into a well worn genre that is worth the time and even a place on your DVD shelf.

Belzebuth is now available on DVD as well as the Shudder streaming service.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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