31 Days of Halloween — Day 6: Asmodexia (2014) — by Dr. Shock

31 Days of Halloween - Asmodexia 2014

Editor’s note: Dave “Dr. Shock” Becker is a host on Horror Movie Podcast, Universal Monsters Cast and Land of the Creeps horror podcasts. He is also the mastermind behind DVDInfatuation.com, a movie review blog where he is watching and posting one review every day until he reaches at least 2,500 movie reviews. Follow Doc on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation.

“Asmodexia” is a movie I happened upon by chance; the trailer for this Spanish horror film is one of several featured on the DVD for “Inner Demons” and played just before that 2014 movie started. Based on this preview alone, “Asmodexia” looked like it might offer a different spin on the possession subgenre, and I figured it was worth a watch.

Yet not even the trailer could prepare me for how unique this film truly is, and while I was definitely drawn into the movie and even blown away a little by the various twists and turns its story took, I ultimately admired “Asmodexia” more than I actually liked it.

Eloy (Lluís Marco) and his granddaughter Alba (Clàudia Pons) travel the countryside, helping those who have been possessed by malevolent spirits (While Eloy is definitely the driving force behind this mission of mercy, it’s Alba who dispels the unwanted entities.) The two make their way from village to village, reuniting with many of Eloy’s former followers as they cleanse the possessed, while Ona (Irene Montalà), herself a past disciple of Eloy’s, rots away in a mental institution, where sinister forces have been making their presence known on an almost daily basis.

Eloy believes the sharp increase in supernatural activity (which coincides with the end of the Mayan calendar) signifies the beginning of what he calls a “New Resurrection,” one that is destined to change the world. But as this day of reckoning approaches, Eloy and Alba must confront a select few who have sworn to do everything in their power to prevent the “second coming” from ever happening.

Directed by Marc Carreté, “Asmodexia” is a movie that demands both your patience and your undivided attention as it pieces its rather complex story together. Soon after the opening sequence, during which a possessed woman gives birth, “Asmodexia” branches off in a number of different directions; along with Eloy’s and Alba’s exorcisms, the film dedicates a fair portion of its time to Ona and the spirits that have invaded her mental facility; and there’s another subplot involving Ona’s sister Diana (Marta Belmonte), a police inspector who, like Ona, once followed Eloy and is now trying to figure out what is happening, and why.

Each of these storylines unfolds slowly, so much so that by the time the movie reached the one-hour mark, I still had more questions than answers (a video from several years earlier, which features Eloy as well as Ona and Diana, is shown at various intervals throughout the film, giving us hope that there is, indeed, a common thread connecting the movie’s characters, while at the same time offering very few clues as to what might have transpired between them).

It isn’t until the last 10 minutes or so that “Asmodexia” finally ties everything together, and the finale definitely took me by surprise. Yet even as I sat there, marveling at how effectively the film had pulled the wool over my eyes, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the journey itself wasn’t as satisfying, and that director Carreté as well as his co-screenwriter Mike Hostench had guarded their secrets a bit too jealously early on, giving us just enough to keep us watching but not nearly enough to make us care about what was going on.

And that, I’m afraid, is how I felt once “Asmodexia” was over: I was impressed, but I didn’t really give a damn.

—Dr. Shock

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3 thoughts on “31 Days of Halloween — Day 6: Asmodexia (2014) — by Dr. Shock


    Day 06 – Wishmaster 2

    The highlight of Wishmaster 2 would be Andrew Divoff as the evil Djinn and his human form, Nathaniel Demerest. With this being Divoff’s second time portraying the Djinn, he once again excels at carrying this movie on his back in his failed attempt at creating a new popular horror series. Unlike the last two Wishmaster movies that finds new actors to play the Djinn and the fun value just wasn’t there, literally every scene and moment I enjoyed in this movie, was because of Divoff. He has this amazing sinister look that he does with these intense eyes and a menacing smile that comes across as a little unnatural. Since the Djinn is more or less just a combination of Pinhead and Freddy Krueger, the Djinn is constantly having fun at trying to lure unsuspecting victims into making a wish so that the Djinn can take their souls and twist their wishes around to their great misfortune. One such wish even had Divoff quickly glancing at the camera, as if he’s celebrating with the audience that he finally managed to convince the prison guard to make a wish. If you watch Wishmaster 2 (Or Wishmaster 1 for that matter) for one reason only, watch it for Divoff. Frankly, I consider it a shame that Divoff didn’t manage to create much of a name for himself in the horror world.

    When it comes to the effects seen in Wishmaster 2, there’s two types. The practical effects as created by SOTA FX were all well done and managed to not be a downgrade from the previous film’s involvement with the more widely known KNB Effects. The highlights of SOTA effects were the bloody kills in particularly the memorable inmate being pushed through the jail bars scene. Unfortunately, since this was 1999, the attempts at using CGI ended up being a failure. The CGI looks awful in this movie with one early shot of the Djinn looking particularly bad because it looked as if the body of the Djinn was practically done, but the face was CGI’d in. It created a weird looking creature that clued in the viewer that was going to be some rough scenes to come with CGI.

    I find the first half of the film to be surprisingly strong, although extremely wacky. This is the part of the film that is nearly entirely dedicated to the Djinn trying to get people to wish for things with surprising results to come. Again, with Divoff being the best part of the film, he shines in this portion of the film. The scene I will always remember when this movie is brought up is the over the top wish involving an inmate’s lawyer. It’s sheer wackiness as the lawyer’s body twists around and bones snap to allow him to “Go fuck himself” is the exact moment where this film tells the audience that you should not be taking the movie too seriously. Later on in the film, there’s even a scene where a woman in a casino appears to be defecating money. That’s some classy stuff right there.

    Once The Djinn and his prison buddy, Osip, manage to leave the prison is where the film goes downhill for me. It loses the fun value as things become a lot more serious. The other issue with this second half is that the drama between the former lovers, the bad girl with the heart of gold Morgana, and her former lover turned priest, Gregory, is as uninteresting as can be. The acting is atrocious, which isn’t helped by the fact that the script is also quite poor as well. Between the underwhelming romance between the woman who has killed someone and a priest (!!!) and the seemingly never ending saga of trying to figure out how to kill the Djinn with a ton of research in its mythology, I was left really bored by this second half minus a few select moments including the Djinn having his way at a casino with everything going crazy including the aforementioned woman defecating money.

    Overall, Wishmaster 2 is a Wishmaster film. Despite being a decent concept and loving the idea of the Djinn, none of the movies managed to be very good. In my previous times of watching Wishmaster 2, it wasn’t something that entertained me much at all to the extent that I’d rank it as the weakest of the series. Re-watching this film again caused me to have a good amount of fun. The first half is cheesy, but effective in what it’s supposed to be. The second half isn’t as good, but at times it’s so bad it allows the viewer to laugh. Again, Andrew Divoff is amazing as the Djinn. In a lot of ways, I’d compare the Wishmaster series to the Leprechaun series with only the main stars of Divoff (The Djinn) and Warwick Davis (The Leprechaun) being able to be entertaining regardless of how bad the movies may be.

    Rating: 4.5/10

  2. Just watched Annabelle: Creation and had such a blast I had to come share my excitement immediately! I wasn’t expecting much from this prequel-to -a-spin-off, but I was actually blown away. This is much more than a killer doll film.

    12 years after the death of their daughter, Mr and Mrs Mullins take in a group of orphans and their nun teacher. The girls enjoy exploring the beautiful old house but some locked doors and secrets are too tempting to resist.

    The film started off nice and creepy and somehow just continue to pile on the scares, ramping up and taking turns I did not expect. To be critical, the filmmakers threw every single horror trope at this screenplay. Scary doll, big old house, the dead child, a bereaved mother who lives in the shadows, orphans, nuns, a dumb waiter and even a freaking scarecrow – the list goes on. It’s not the most intelligent thriller in the world, and I really don’t know how it will hold up to repeat viewing, but this film GOT ME.

    I was squealing, swearing, gritting my teeth and every other reaction a horror director wants to elicit from her audience. Plus, every time I thought I knew what was coming next I was proven wrong. I loved my viewing experience of Annabelle:Creation and I want to give it a 9/10 for the frightening fun it provided. My critical mind knows that score would be over generous, but I’m just so thrilled to be scared by a film for the first time in a long time.

  3. Day 6: Cat People (1942)

    Films are generally said to be made by directors but in this case Val Lewton, the producer, was given that credit. RKO wanted to make low budget horror films so they hired Lewton, gave him some film titles, and a budget of $150,000 for each production. He began with Cat People, a film that established his style and was so successful that it’s theatrical run was extended.

    With a small budget Lewton kept it simple and focused on the characters. Most of the horror is psychological or shown through shadows and implications. The main character Irena (Simone Simon) is plagued by an ancient curse, similar to werewolves, but with cats.

    There is a scene where a woman is stalked on the street late at night by a panther or large cat. We never see the creature but the way Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur build the tension is incredible. The scene’s vehicular climax is famous and it’s one of my favorite scenes in all of horror cinema. 9.5/10

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