As the type of person who watches Lifetime movies for fun, I have a lot of free time on Friday nights. I spend them watching some god-awful made-for-TV-movies, and drinking. This week I’ll be reviewing an unthrilling thriller entitled, “Devil in the Flesh.” It stars Rose McGowan and Alex McArthur and was directed by Steve Cohen. The only other project of note that Cohen’s directed is Billy Joel: The Essential Video Collection, so you know what we’re working with here.
The movie opens on a shot of Rose McGowan’s face that just hangs there for 10 minutes. I’m not joking. I would have thought it froze if not for the boopinest action movie music in the background. FINALLY, it pans over to a house on fire and we get the first line which is said in, (no kidding), SLOW MOTION.
The police just let McGowan (we don’t know her character name yet) leave town while an arson investigation takes place, solid police work. Then our two cops, Hall and Oates wander aimlessly around the partial-collapsed skeleton of a burned out building just picking up shit for 15 minutes trying to figure out what rooms they’re in. Honestly, this really happens, they walk into a fucking burned to the ground house and say, “I think this is the kitchen!” These are not fire marshals, they aren’t solving anything, they are frittering away an afternoon. Oates finds a knife in the wreckage, PUTS IT BACK, and then they LEAVE.
Meanwhile, McG arrives in Typical Town, USA to stay with her grandmother who they quickly establish is racist, religious, and batshit crazy. She slaps McG in the face within the first 20 minutes and then beats her with a cane, A CANE. So our 30-year-old heroine is off to high school, where she meets the hot teacher, Mr. Rinaldi, who is too cool for school. He beats up bullies, plays a one-on-one basketball game with a student (and wins), and gets picked up in a bitchin’ 1990s Ford Mustang by a blond.
There’s a quick jump to the investigators at the morgue. They ask about two bodies, the medical examiner says they’re too burned to find anything. HEY STEVE, I THINK YOU COULD’VE ESTABLISHED THIS EARLIER. I mean seriously, its 25 minutes into the movie and we’re just finding out people died?!
We find this out later, but the plot is; McG had a crush on a teacher at another school, stalked him, then when he dated her mother (genius, this guy), she murdered them and set the house on fire. There, I saved you an hour and a half.
So big surprise here, she’s about to start all over again with Mr. R!
Another quick cut back to McG who pretends to shoot a dog, shoplifts a lot and hangs out with some irritating ass chick who snaps her gum. Huh, I think she might have some problems. The movie beats me over the head with how “bad” McG is. She pushes Meegan (pronounced MEE-GAN), a rival for Mr. R’s attention, down the stairs, breaking her leg. She even murders her grandmother’s dog, trapping him in a trunk with an open aerosol can. I got so upset I shut the movie off. I hate when movie do this shit. She beats up kids at school, totally obviously murdered her mother and teacher. WE GET THAT SHE’S BAD, WHY DOES SHE NEED TO KILL THE DOG? The grandmother proceeds to search for this fucking dog, depressing the fuck out of me, but only finds McG’s diary full of horny teen ramblings.
Then it cuts to Mr. R pounding his girlfriend.
Like hardcore, with thrusting, noises and partial nudity, for no reason 30 minutes into the movie. I literally gasped and had to pause it because it was so unwarranted. Like all good sexual encounters it ends in a fight, and she leaves in a huff, braless, like a classy lady.
McG shows up the next morning to help with a yard sale or some shit, and they set it up together while sex jazz plays. It’s so ridiculous I actually forgot about the poor schnauzer in the trunk and laughed my ass off. And it went on so long. When she finally her ass goes home, she gets confronted by grandma, who she then beats to death with her own cane.
McG finally makes her move by breaking into Mr. R’s house and uses his shower. It doesn’t have the desired effect on him. And so the next day she sends him roses at school, they go to another teacher instead, who reads the card:
Now instead of reporting this to the police, or to the principal, or FUCKING TELLING ANYONE, he says, “Don’t boff students,” AND THEN WALKS OFF. This movie has said, “fuck,” already, why a word like boff was necessary, I don’t know. So, then after establishing that no one cares about teacher-student relationships, the movie proceeds to have some jock blackmail and rape McG. Yes, I said rape, yes they went there. For no fucking reason. Then she stabs him with a ski pole.
So with the body count up to 3 (yes, I count the dog), and one sexual assault, Hall and Oates finally show up (I was worried that had been fired halfway through production) and tell McG’s social worker that maybe she should pay her a visit. Surprise, she dies too!
Suddenly, Mr R.’s girlfriend shows up again, so he finally decides to do something. He tells McG to never contact him again. Cut to cliché scorned love scene complete with McG burning pictures in a trash can.
Hall and Oates show up and speak to the principal, while conveniently Mr. R’s there too and we get full plot throw up. I’m glad I had to wait until ten minutes before the end to hear information that the movie has beat me over the head with. McG’s mother killed her father, she was abused and surprise! she murdered her mom and former teacher. While in this meeting they get a call from McG that she needs to see Mr. R now! Everybody shows up and then, anti-climatically, McG shoots herself in the head.
OR DOES SHE?! McG springs like a jungle cat onto the Mr.R’s girlfriend. Luckily, the man of the hour comes charging in and knocks out McG. We then find out that the gunshot victim was gum-snap girl (she was not mourned), not McG. Our heroine gets arrested and the movie ends with a freeze frame of her face like a goddamn episode of Cheers.
This movie was not fun. Mr. Cohen filled this movie with every technique he learned in his summer film class at the local community college and this movie jump cuts like a monster. It would cut to someone who delivered two lines, then jump cut back to two more lines. It never stayed in the same place for more than ten minutes. I should mention though that the music is a-mazing. It both uses certain instrumentals inappropriately and license-free 90s “rock” music.