Review: The Device (2014)

Spheres for fears

From the eerie X-Files type music in the opening credits, The Device is creepy from the start. The film opens with  Abby (Angela DiMario) and Calvin (David S. Hogan) sitting in a car. The tension is thick as the couple waits for Abby’s estranged sister Rebecca (Kate Alden) to arrive. The sisters reunite and the trio heads up to the cabin where the girls spent time as kids to spread their late mother’s ashes.

While at the cabin, Abby tells Calvin about a kidnapping and rape that Becca endured sixteen years prior, causing Becca to escape to Kentucky. Abby has always felt guilty about the incident as Becca ran off due to a fight she and Abby had. Calvin tries to console Abby, insisting they are family and they can show Becca that life can be good. When Becca goes out into the woods, Abby follows her. There, Becca tries to explain that there are things Abby can’t understand about what happened when she went missing. The girls hear something strange and Abby wants to investigate. As they experience the woods, the unnerving music plays, adding to the suspense.

The girls find what appears to the crash site to be some sort of flying vessel. Becca insists the girls shouldn’t be there and that they should leave, but Abby seems drawn to the site. Abby finds a ball and picks it up, curious to see what it is. Though the sphere doesn’t react, Abby notices her hand is cut just before Becca faints. Back at the cabin, Abby shows the device to Calvin who takes an immediate interest in the sphere. That night, Abby begins to have strange nightmares and they leave early the next day. Abby and Calvin bring Becca to stay with them in their new home. Calvin brings the sphere back to the house and the girls confront him. They don’t see the point in keeping some unknown thing that could be dangerous. Calvin goes from being kind and empathetic to defensive and manipulative, convincing the girls and even (playfully) taunting them about the sphere. The trio quickly deduce that the sphere may be otherworldly. It seems to defy everything they can explain, convincing Calvin that there could be money involved in figuring out how the sphere works.

When Abby becomes sick and begins to have strange dreams, she becomes more and more unnerved by the presence of the sphere. She begins dreaming of aliens and strange things start to happen around the house. Oddly enough, Becca appears normal. While she did not get cut by the sphere like Abby and Calvin did, it’s hard to imagine that having just been back to a place that caused such trauma and heartache would allow Becca to walk away and be fine just days later, knowing that an object was brought back from the very place that caused her to upheave her entire life.

When Abby learns the truth about what really happened to Becca in the woods, Abby feels convinced that her instincts are right — something unnatural is happening.

The nightmares and flashbacks use classic jump cuts and make use of the shiver provoking score to create a strong horror feel. Calvin’s progression from a caring, family oriented fiancé, to an almost robotic, consumed shell of a being, is fantastic. Abby and Becca both go through their own transformations, though Becca seems a bit too calm in times when she should be utterly distressed. The film concludes with little certainty about what will happen to Abby and her family.

The Device will be available on DVD in the U.K. on March 23, 2015.

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