Demon Board (2007) – By Duane L. Martin

 Demon Board is the story of a demon who finds brainless and bitchy young women (and one brainless guy who has an equally brainless girlfriend) and magically places a demon board in their near proximity and tempting them to use it.  They all do, because obviously if they didn’t it wouldn’t be much of a movie now would it?  The thing is, they all, without exception, make some wish to themselves while they’re using it, and instantly the planchette moves to the word "granted" on the board and they get their wish, causing bad things to happen to them.

Now, the whole demon, Ouija board, and bad things happen to the people who use the Ouija board thing is a very cliche concept as it’s been done a million times before.  That said, this movie managed to be entertaining at times despite the overused concept.  It was a mixed bag though.  It had it’s good points, but also some bad ones.  I’ll just cover each in it’s own section rather than typing out a mish mash of various points.

What worked:

I was pretty amazed with what director Jeff Cooper managed to do with an obviously limited budget.  Lots of outdoor shoots, a variety of props, various costumes and even some make up and gore all made for a nice look and a visually interesting film.

Jeff Cooper himself played the demon and a variety of other rather entertaining characters in the film, and in fact, he himself was by far the best and most interesting actor in the film.  He did a really great job with all of his characters, especially the deaf, hillbilly gravedigger in the first story.

Some of the stories had interesting concepts.  The next-to-last story has a girl and her idiot boyfriend playing a game called hangman where they run a rope through a couple of pullies with a noose at each end and then stand across from each other with the nooses aroudn their necks and alternate pulling each other’s noose tighter because it’s a cool rush to get choked.  Now I ask you, how could anything possibly go wrong???  Then there’s a girl who ends up wishing herself back on to a pirate ship.  That segment was rather amusing at the end when the skeleton of a dead pirate comes out of his coffin and pulls out her liver.  I found that scene extremely entertaining because it was like something you’d see in an Ed Wood movie…if he had made gore flicks.

The camera work, sound and lighting were all generally good as well, however, there were some pacing problems that I’ll talk about in the next section.  On a technical level however, the film was generally sound.

What didn’t work:

This was a full length feature.  Why was it full length?  Well, the fact that some of the scenes in this movie ran on seemingly and needlessly without end probably had a lot to do with it.  One of the stories, after the main body of the action happens, has a girl walking through the woods all bloody and beat up…for TEN FULL MINUTES!  Seriously, nothing else happens during that time.  Just ten solid minutes of her limping her way through the woods, only to die at the end.  I know it was ten minutes too because after about three minutes I was wondering how long she was going to be doing that, so I rewound it, turned on the display and then fast forwarded it to the end of the scene.  It was literally ten minutes give or take about three to five seconds.  Throw in a gratuitous and pointless shower scene and some WAY overly long and rather boring "torture" scenes in one of the other stories, and then edit down some of the other overly long scenes and you have a movie that could have EASILY been cut down to a tight and really nice sixty minutes at the most.  This film would have been well served by the extra editing, because as it is, at times it just becomes tedious.

Another problem with the film is that there are a few scenes that are REALLY over compressed and have compression marks all over the place.  I’m not sure how they got so compressed, because generally the rest of the film looks good.  It’s just certain scenes that are really over compressed.  In any case, that should have been caught during the editing process, the segments of film re-imported into the editing software and the whole thing re-mastered.  Now granted, I was watching the film on a big screen television, so I probably noticed it more than someone who would be watching it on a smaller television, but it was so bad I think it would have been really noticeable on any size TV.

The acting on the part of most of the cast was ok at best.  You could really tell who had used a ouija board before and who hadn’t.  The couple who had were a little more realistic about their hand movements than the others.  Then again, who knows.  Maybe they all used one before but some were better at acting it out than others.  In any case, since I’m familiar with ouija boards, some of them just looked silly the way they were moving the planchette around.

Oh, and in the pirate scene.  The pirate was supposed to be making out with the girl, but all it really amounted to was them moving their heads around and him standing in front of her so you couldn’t see that they weren’t really kissing.  It ended up looking rather silly, but I guess I’d have to also include this item in the "What worked" section as well because it was funny and entertaining to watch.

Conclusion:

This was an entertaining movie with some problems.  The problems aren’t anything a fast forward button can’t fix however, and in general, the meat of the stories and Jeff Cooper’s great performances definitely make it worth a look.  I just wish it could somehow be re-edited to tighten it up into the movie that it really could be.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out B-Films website at http://www.b-films.com.