The Devil’s In The Details (Blu-ray Review)

The-Devil's-In-The-DetailsFilm is a visual medium in which to craft visual tales.  Unlike programming on radio airwaves before it, a movie is able to let you see what is going on and keep you engaged primarily with what you are seeing with your eyes.  Someone never conveyed this to director Waymon Boone.  The Devil’s In The Details is an incredibly boring experience, guised as a thriller, but is mainly just audibly telling you what is happening with no visual reference on screen and nothing to keep someone engaged.  Its runtime is almost literally filled with just a telephone with a voice coming from the other line.  There’s a little bit of shoot ’em up and a couple punches thrown at the end, but its far too late and unable to salvage this beyond snail paced film.

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Thomas Conrad (Joel Mathews) is a soldier returned home from duty looking to reinstate himself into a normal life with his family.  In an odd turn of events, he is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel enforcer (Emilio Rivera) and forced to put his father, sister and brother though a set of steps to successful run some stolen drugs from a rival cartel house across the border.  Conveniently, his father is a judge, sister a cap and his brother works border patrol. Everything is timed, and if Conrad cannot convince them and succeed in getting his father and siblings to carry this out, the cartel will murder his wife and daughter.  During Conrad’s torture, we are handed scenes of his post traumatic stress therapy with his doctor (Ray Liotta).

First off, Ray Liotta is finally able to finish of that kitchen remodel he’d been putting off thanks to this movie.  From his scenes, he was obviously paid to get his name and mug on the poster and only worked 1-2 days.  He pretty much mails it in, but is still above and beyond most of the cast.  He doesn’t bring the movie down at all.  Joel Mathews, our lead, is absolutely terrible.  He’s completely flat and unable to carry any of the weight demanded the character.  I couldn’t believe how poor he was I figured he was probably the writer/director of the film trying to get some exposure.  And no, that was not the case.  You just can’t buy the guy in the role and it severely hampers the film, considering how its told.

The Devil’s In The Details wants to be an intense, race against the clock thriller.  It forgets, we need something intense or even a race to be invested.  If the film isn’t spending time in Dr. Liotta’s office rambling off some boring backstory, its spending its entire time with Thomas Conrad hanging from the ceiling and talking to people on speaker phone.  I’m not lying.  It’s probably a good 80-85% of the film.  The film is a complete bore.  It’s just phone conversation after phone conversation.  Conrad is apparently being tortured, but even R-rated, the film is afraid to get even PG-13 grisly with any abuse.

The conclusion finds a nice little 10 minutes of violence to finish things out.  The last scene is not nearly enough to save this already sunk ship. The stride to the finish is full of obvious CG, and you might already be asleep already by the time the film gets here.  It was nice to see Raymond J. Barry pop up, if only for 1 scene and some voice over.  Emilio Rivera is probably the highlight of the entire thing, giving a nice menacing performance as the cartel’s enforcer.  Those are about some of the nicest things that can be said for this snoozefest.

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Image Entertainment brings the 1080p MPEG-4 AVC picture home framed at 2:40:1.  It’s not a very good looking picture for the majority of the runtime.  The detail is surprisingly low, but at very miniscule spots throughout it has some strong definition.  There also might be use of some post tinkering as well.  Ray Liotta who has really rugged face appears smooth and a tad waxy.  Also, I’m not sure if this is in the source, but the picture is really soft, oddly focused and slightly blurred a lot of the time.  I thought it might be just a way to convey a flashback, but the clarity of the shot would change angle-to-angle providing a cleaner image.  Due to this, there is plenty of ghosting present during camera movements.

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The Devil’s In The Details has a loud, but not very detailed 5.1 DTS HD MA track.  The balance between score and dialogue is very well done here, however, there’s nothing much provided in the way of 5.1.  The only use of the rear speakers is for some mild pieces of score.  While it’s loud, there’s no real reason to crank this thing up until the final 10 minutes anyway.

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Behind The Scenes (12:05) – Select cast members discuss the plot synopsis.  Ray Liotta tries his best to convince you he liked the role and wasn’t just there for his kitchen remodel.  Basically, this is just a promo for the film.  It makes it appear more exciting and engaging than it actually is.  So, well done.

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This is the film equivalent of watching paint dry.  The devil is in way too many details here as the film describes action rather than showing any of it.  If we could just see what is happening on the other side of the phone conversation, this movie might have been salvageable.  As it stands, The Devil’s In The Details is just a complete bore followed by a 10 minute “Eh, well, that was something” finale.  The video presentation is pretty sub par adding to the displeasure of watching it.  Don’t spend your time on this one.  Call someone and talk to them for 100 minutes on speaker phone instead.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

3 Responses to “The Devil’s In The Details (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Wow! This one is worse than Texas Chainsaw 3D? I wonder how it would compare to Zombie’s Lords of Salem? I only gave that a .5

  2. Brandon Peters

    at least things happened in Texas Chainsaw 3D. If Texas Chainsaw 3D was done Devil’s In The Details style, there’d be a person on the phone the whole time telling somebody what happens in the movie while Leatherface paces back and forth.

    I wasn’t a Lords of Salem hater. Totally understood what Rob was doing with that one.

  3. Brian White

    Oh I completely understand too. He was making one of the worst films in cinematic history. Gotcha 🙂