Monday, August 3, 2015

Demolisher, The (2015)

Director: Gabriel Carrer
Notable Cast: Ry Barrett, Tianna Nori, Jessica Vano, Duncan McLellan

We’ve been seeing a lot of the old coming in with the new with genre filmmaking lately. Films such as Hobo with a Shotgun, Astro 6’s Father’s Day and Fantasia favorite Turbo Kid are prime examples of the retro revival craze. Immediately upon reading the synopsis for The Demolisher one can hope for a film similar to 1980’s The Exterminator. The Canadian production that was filmed in Guelph and Toronto, Ontario was directed by Latefox Pictures’ Gabriel Carrer who seems to have graduated from low budget filmmaking after Desperate Souls and If a Tree Falls. However, whether we can say that this transition to a bigger budget was smooth or if we can expect a nostalgic throwback to exploitation type action films of the 70s and 80s is another thing. The Demolisher is much more like today’s modern films than a throwback. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the same can’t be said for the film itself. 

 The Demolisher follows Bruce (played by Ry Barrett) whose ex-policewoman wife Samantha (played by Tianna Nori) was left confined to wheelchair after a run in with a cult-ish gang. Using her riot gear, Bruce’s rage steers him to hunt down the gang (or possibly a gang) to exact revenge against those who crippled his wife. The vigilante’s mental health soon deteriorates as he sets his eyes on an innocent woman named Marie (played by Jessica Vano) after she finds a necklace he lost and his paranoia causes him to shift from being a vigilante to something way worse. 

Instead of focusing on excessive violence, The Demolisher is a film that explores Bruce’s psyche a lot more. So much of the actual violence is nothing but slow motion that we actually forget that it’s supposed to be violence to start with. As a matter of fact, sometimes it feels like a third of the whole film is slow motion which grows tiresome very quick. To accompany the violence and slow motion is the repetitive music. In moments of impending doom or Bruce’s brooding hate is when you can here this loud music and in different scenes it changes, but stays repetitive. Commonly in film are scenes of slow motion that uses this formula, but this is just overkill at this point. While the film clocks in at under a hour and a half, the dialogue is very minimal. For the longest time, I thought the leads were complete mutes! The shock of Samantha’s event had left the main two leads speechless via shock. Carrer had decided since this isn’t a throwback at all to make this a serious venture. The Fantasia audience was much like the characters in the film very quiet throughout until the film’s climax. It’s not all bad news though. The best aspect of the film is the performance by our lead cast, especially Ry Barrett whose descent into madness is riveting. The scenery and cinematography are both excellent too. One thing that I need to take a stab at though is the plot. The best comparison one can make is a knitted sweater that was made so loosely that you can still see the threads just hanging out or one can say that there isn’t really much a plot to start with.

I was quite excited to see The Demolisher originally but all it really did was demolish my expectations. The trailer had been misleading as to make not only me, but other fans of retro action and exploitation films expect a man on a rampage through Toronto. Instead The Demolisher is more so about the deterioration of one man’s mind and morals after his life is changed completely after a traumatic event. Take out whatever violence there was and you would have probably had a drama film. The Demolisher isn’t necessarily a complete waste or even a terrible film but it could have also been way better as it still leaves for something more to be desired. Netflix and Redbox is a better alternative than an outright purchase because The Demolisher just doesn’t live up to the name.

Written By Elise

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