Review: Set Your GPS to Avoid Devil’s Mile

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review score 3Phase 4 FilmsSay you’re a criminal, and you’ve kidnapped two teenage girls for your deranged boss, who you are very frightened of. You need to safely and swiftly transport those girls to him. Wouldn’t it make sense to know where you are going and take the most direct way possible? Apparently not if you are the dimwit trio of criminals in Devil’s Mile.

Toby (David Hayter, writer of X-Men among others), Cally (Maria del Mar), and Jacinta (Casey Hudecki) are the aforementioned trio. For some reason they take a desolate road in the middle of nowhere, and of course they quickly get lost (does that still happen in 2014, what with GPS and Google maps?). They stop at a gas station for directions, and the weird dude behind the counter tells them to turn back. They don’t listen. Guess how that works out?

Their problems begin when Toby falls asleep at the wheel. He crashes their car and one of the girls ends up dead. Strange things start happening almost immediately. One of the women calls 911 and her own voice responds to her. They all hear and see things that can’t be real, including an apparition that seems to be angry and dissipates in light. Soon the apparition hinders their efforts to get away, and a desperate struggle for survival ensues.

None if this is in any way compelling. The kidnappers bicker constantly, which is painfully dull and often irritating. They are one-dimensional and there’s no one to root for or care about. There are tearful confessions and shouting matches and a comical amount of profanity. The weak acting and poor pacing don’t help. The movie moves very slowly and the stakes feel extremely low. You don’t care about these people or what happens to them, including the kidnapping victim.

The obnoxious direction, by Joseph O’Brien, doesn’t help. Probably in an attempt to compensate for a low budget and limited locations, he goes overboard with the tricks and gimmicks. There is an incoherent mix of extreme close ups, low camera angles, aerial shots of a vehicle on an empty road, voiceover, flash forward and flashback, and a ton of boo scares/loud music. It’s an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, and it doesn’t work here.

Adding insult to injury, the trio’s boss spouts off pseudo-philosophical nonsense like “the passage of time breeds perspective” and “we want to believe we are the masters of our own destiny” as he blathers on and on to one of the kidnappers. You will want him to shut up long before Devil’s Mile is over. This one’s a stinker. 

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Weekend: Nov. 15, 2018, Nov. 18, 2018

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