Following a handful of screenings in April and June, RES Digital Media’s new feature, The Devil Frame, is gearing up to reach a wider audience. It’s important for me to note that The Devil Frame is an independent feature, but being produced on a smaller budget doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s just that it needs to find the right audience, and hopefully the readers at HorrorSociety.com are that demographic. Written, directed, produced and edited by Rob Sepulveda, The Devil Frame follows a photographer who inadvertently encounters an ancient, mystical voodoo ceremony painting while on assignment. He is absolutely enthralled by what he sees, obsessed even, and the experience goes from a recent memory to a full-bodied manifestation. The photographer’s journey and inclusion of occult symbols makes him a beacon for paranoia and strange occurrences, and little does he know, the paintings he has become infatuated with are drawing the attention of something much more sinister than voodoo. A physically, mentally and artistically changed young man now finds himself in the clutches of evil ending in a fight for survival. Created by Rob Sepulveda, The Devil Frame stars Ron Fitzgerald (Dark Realm), August Lysy (Ghebbar Woods), Vincent Bilancio (Bio Slime), Kat Blackburn, Sarah Kopp (The Opposite of Life), Angel Rosario Jr. (A Cartel Story), Arch Harman and Carlo Aparo.
Being that The Devil Frame is marginally an independent production, I have to say that it’s quite impressive with the way it executed most of its content. The actors are all absolutely fantastic, Ron Fitzgerald and August Lysy the most, and the five-star performances really elevate this title to another level. I also enjoyed the use of local and large scale locations, the overall atmosphere filled with tribal and tropical vibes, and there were a lot of smart decisions made in the editing room. My only complaint with The Devil Frame from a production standpoint is the cohesiveness of the picture quality. There is some fishbowl audio in the beginning, but the trouble with picture quality is constant throughout. As a viewer, it’s easy to notice that some scenes are a different focus and style than others. And as someone looking for errors, this jumps out at me. Now, the lack of consistency in picture could be because The Devil Frame had several cinematographers including Rob Sepulveda, Kurt Long, Tommy Sigmon and Christopher Kahler. While I wouldn’t say that any of the cinematography is bad, I think it’s safe to say that each man has his own method and too many cooks in the kitchen was notice-able.
The Devil Frame is a complex, more psychological story, and I think it straddles the line of horror without ever crossing it. The first half is a dark and disturbing drama, and the second half is more of a supernatural thriller. The inclusion of the voodoo wasn’t overbearing, either. The music, the tarot cards, belly dancing, other sensuality, hypnosis, snakes and practical magic painted a picture not always represented in the media. It was fun to see magic and obsession explored without the use of stereotypical witches. And, hey, I would have liked to see more artwork since that’s such a large focal point for the story, but I can ignore this because of the late 90’s/early 2000’s vibes featured in this movie. From the backing tracks to the gradual build in suspense and cliches that we all know and love, The Devil Frame could have easily been a futuristic VHS shelf liner. I think that’s who will appreciate this title the most – old school cinema fans who can find an undiscovered gem and give it the credit it deserves. As Rob Sepulveda’s feature length debut, I don’t think he could have asked for anything better. An intriguing story filled with the occult, expert performances and an atmosphere perfect for a late summer viewing, The Devil Frame was pretty good!
Final Score: 7 out of 10.