The New Social Networking
“Devil’s Domain is a movie about the ramifications of social media, cyber-bullying, and how it affects the youth of today,” says writer/director Jared Cohn. It is centered on a cyber-bullying incident that goes terribly wrong at a fictional high school. The victim then seeks her own unique form of revenge (with some super-natural help along the way).
Lisa is bullied into bulimia, self-hate, self-harm and depression. She wants acceptance, fame and revenge and makes a deal with the devil—a sexy, female devil with a foreign accent. From there, Lisa with the Devil begin a series of revenge acts on those who humiliated her. I love the idea of a retelling on the Faust story in a modern setting and this was a great idea that was somehow lost in the execution of it causing some scenes to elicit laughs from the viewers. I found it to be reminiscent of 80’s horror movies.
Lisa (Madi Vodane) and Rhonda (Brenna Tucker) have been best friends since grammar school, but now that they’re in their later teens, Lisa develops sexual feelings for Rhonda, and when she tries to make out with her, Rhonda just dashes off and … the next day the whole school she blabs it all over school. Lisa then becomes the target of bullying. This eventually leads to bulimia which leads to more problems when another “best friend” of hers (Zack Kozlow) installs cameras in her bedroom and bathroom to film her not only eating and forcing herself to throw up but also masturbating. And when the video’s on the internet the next day, Lisa of course ends up the laughing stock of the whole school. This, of course, leads to Lisa having more suicidal thoughts than ever, and she causes her parents (Michael Madsen, Kelly Erin Decker) to worry so that they want to send her away for treatment.
While at her lowest point, Lisa meets Destiny (Linda Bella) over social media, who gives her compliments and promises her to take care of everything for her. Destiny invites her over invites and has sex with her and then reveals herself to be the Devil. What she promises Lisa doesn’t sound at all bad— both fame and revenge on those who have bullied her and this is all Lisa wanted anyway. What Destiny did not mention was that the revenge part of things has to do with all of her opponents being killed violently and gorily or, driven to suicide the same way Lisa has almost had been driven to suicide. At first, Lisa even likes the game, even if it makes her slightly sick – but when she sees Rhonda being run over by a truck before her very eyes and knows she could have prevented it. Even though Lisa changes her attitude. she’s already in too deep by then.
While “Devil’s Domain” has many flaws, it also has a lot going for it including a fun story build-up and a good balance of characterization and story. The horror sequences are all effectively staged and tremendously executed. The script is full of realistic dialogue and motivations and the cinematography is atmospheric and striking.
Michael Madsen is especially good as Lisa’s compassionate and understanding stepfather, Bill. The music from Iggy & The Stooges, DMX and Onyx, adds to the tone and I had a great time watching it. Yes, it is disjointed and at times incoherent, beginning as a high school drama before moving into horror. There is an emphasis on sex but no nudity.