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Lo


If you could save the guy/girl you love by summoning a demon to bring her back, would you? This isn’t a question posed by the film Lo; I am just curious. Instead of contemplating the repercussions (or, you know, moving on), Justin (Ward Roberts) jumps right into the hellish world of demons and disturbing torture to save the one he loves, April (Sarah Lassez).

Grade:

By calling the demon Lo (Jeremiah Birkett), Justin not only becomes Lo’s “master”, but he gets a glimpse into Hell and the real identity of his muse. With surprisingly good make-up, odd scenes that play out like community theater and a decent script, Lo takes you on a roller coaster from “the future is bright” to “stop what you are doing” for director/writer Travis Betz.

The film has a very unpolished and raw feel to it, which endears the audience to it as an obvious personal project of those involved, but also alienates you as a potentially voyeuristic outsider looking in on a gathering of close friends. There are times in the film where I felt as if I was not supposed to understand the imagery or dialog because I did not have the proper experiences to fully dissect the symbolism. It sounds odd (even writing it out), but I did not feel like the intended audience.

Nailing down an accurate description of Lo is incredibly difficult as well. Is it humorous? Dramatic? Violent? Horror? A musical? It has all these elements but essentially, when taking into account the subject matter, Lo follows suit with the likes of Shakespeare or Dostoevsky and combines true, life-altering love with death and suffering. Obviously, Lo cannot be mentioned anywhere near the level of those authors, but their influences are prevalent—particularly Dostoevsky’s voice if you’ve read The Brothers Karamazov and know his preference for running circles around your thoughts.

One aspect that I found interesting is the idea that “watching your life is a much different experience than remembering it.” We see Justin watch scenes from his life with April as Lo tries to show her true form to him. It’s an intriguing concept considering our memories are rarely one hundred percent accurate.

All of this is well and good until the first musical number…then the proverbial sh*t hits the fan. After such an interesting opening, Lo takes a turn for the comically bad by having one of the demons, Jeez, sing a song—I have no recollection what it’s about. This is only the first time you are reminded the film is not quite right. There are scenes throughout that tug at this notion of incompletion or lack of direction and completely take you out of the story.

Much like yesterday’s review, Lo lacks the cohesion brought by a seasoned filmmaking veteran. Betz provides an interesting concept and vision with solid dialog, but finds himself going off track too often to really complete the film and squeeze out its full potential. He and his team did wonderfully making Lo’s costume and Jeez’ skin—the Grinch-like demon, though, was out-of-place and subpar—so credit must be given for producing solid aesthetic work from a small budget (I assume). I’d recommend passing when this hits your Netflix recommendations.

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  1. I hated this movie. Hated.

    I thought the cover art and the premise looked cool but I wasn’t expecting the community college drama class production values. I had totally forgotten all about this until now so on the one hand I’m glad someone else suffered through this shit…On the other, I’m sad someone else suffered through this shit.

    • I’m surprised anyone else had seen it. I’m surprised it received an average rating over 3 stars on Netflix. Most of all, I’m surprised to hear such vehement hatred from you haha.

      Sorry I brought up bad memories. I had to watch the final 20 minutes a few times since I fell asleep so easily the first time.

    • rochpikey
    • July 2nd, 2012

    It sounded like an interesting premise and I know what you mean about the seemingly philosophical side of some movies that can almost take you out of the movie if you are not savvy in the area. And raw is a characteristic that I think only works with certain styles…like non-demonic movies. Great write up and yeah I’ll probably pass on this one.

    • Yeah, as I (and Andy up there) said, it’s like a community/college drama class unfolding before your eyes. The potential for future, halfway-decent films was there, but there is still work to be done.

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