When his term limit comes up, Lucifer, the original Devil, must turn the reigns
of Hell over to James Burnett.
Written By: Billy Pepitone,
Directed By: Joseph Pepitone
Let's talk about Hell. I'll admit it, the concept of "The Jersey Devil" seemed really cool to me. The problem was the feature run-time of around 90 minutes. Don't get me wrong, I know it's a pretty standard length for a film; when it comes to indie films however, even the good ones sometimes start to get tedious after an hour. It really takes something well above the mediocre mark to hold my attention; and watch in one session. So reader, as much as I love indie film, ( and I really, really do ) I was a little apprehensive of "The Jersey Devil" simply because it was an indie flick, and a long running one. In a nutshell, my fears were unfounded. Although the film does suffer a few "indie issues" it ended up being one hell of a fun movie. Rarely do I chuckle as much as I did watching Joseph and Billy Pepitone's comedic take on the Devil and Hell itself. Being surprised by an indie flick is a good thing, being entertained for an hour and a half is another story all together.
As good as it is, "The Jersey Devil" is not a perfect film technically. Many of the "indie staples" present themselves throughout the movie, reminding you that this is, in fact an independent film. To be blunt... some of the camera work is a little seedy at times; a shame considering some of it is really quite good. The jumps in quality are apparent as we'll go from a nice upward sweep, smooth as silk... to a jarring hand-held looking shot jib-jabbing all over the place the very next sequence. A lot of the time locations are "borrowed" in the indie world, so sometimes you just need to get in and out quickly. That's completely understandable. However, setting up a tripod really only takes a minute or less if you use a cheaper one. Some of the less than stellar shots would have simply been better locked off, and made all the difference. "The Jersey Devil" is not full of this type of camera work thankfully, but when it does rear it's head... it's not in a subtle way. Aside from that, a better overall color grade during post production really would have made this movie sparkle; or in this case burn.
Done well is the majority of the post-editing and the audio. Although not amazing, it was good enough to forget this film wasn't perfect as it flowed along to it's climax. The only other issues I had was with the start of the film, and the end. Joseph Pepitone could have easily shaved off 3-7 minutes at the start of the film. Mainly, when to "Devil-to-be" was hiring his advocate. It's my job ( Let's use that term loosely ) to watch movies and give them a chance. For the average person watching the film however, that entire scene may be a little long. I fear many casual viewers won't get past it, to see what a great film awaits. If they do however... they'll find a purely awesome movie. My other peeve was with the end. In my humble opinion... it sucked. That sounds harsh so let me explain why without giving anything away. Why-Oh-Why was a random character, that nobody had ever seen through-out the film, introduced in the last 2-3 minutes... to wrap everything up? It just felt like a complete cop out. This wasn't a "holy shit" moment when a major plot twist was revealed. This was a "what the hell is this?" kind of feeling when we realize we've been here, on a journey with the filmmaker... and they threw us under the bus. Numerous characters were available, including some in the very same scene that could have wrapped the film up nicely. As I wrote... all my opinion and leave it at that.
Lastly let's touch on the cast themselves. Simply written... awesome! I completely enjoyed the portrayals of these zany characters... by such a talented group of people. "The Jersey Devil" contained some of the finest comedic moments I have seen in a long time, all acted out perfectly... in an indie flick! Excellent job ladies and gents. Two thumbs up in my books.
"The Jersey Devil" is a funny film. No doubt about that. When deciding on my humble rating, and looking at the small amount of short-comings I had witnessed, one thing kept popping back into my head. I really liked this film. I laughed a lot and it was just plain ol' fun! When it comes to indie film, or any film... the goal is entertainment and "The Jersey Devil" is loaded with it. For anyone debating giving this film a shot let me write this. Go for it! You won't be sorry.
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