Anchor Bay presents
Demon Hunter (2005)
Asmodeus: Ah, the half-breed lives. So obviously whatever plan you had has failed.
Jake Greyman: My only plan is to kick your ass back to Hell where it belongs.- Billy Drago, Sean Patrick Flannery
Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Drago, Collen Porch
Other Stars: Tania Deighton, Nancy Yoon, William Bassett
Director: Scott Ziehl
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, nudity, sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:18m:28s
Release Date: 2006-02-07
DVD ReviewSeeing the name Stephen J. Cannell displayed proudly over the title of this one on the cover art admittedly kind of scared me, because he's the producer responsible for noisy TV action fluff like The A-Team, Hunter and Riptide. And this Scott Ziehl (Earth vs. Spider) directed straight-to-video action/horror film plays out much like a Cannell-induced television pilot, with a vaguely familiar tale of a cocky but tormented demon hunter battling evil and trying to save the world. I say "vaguely" because we've seen general stuff like this before (only better), whether it be John Carpenter's Vampires, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, or Blade.
Sean Patrick Flannery (The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones) is the titular Jake Greyman, a hunky loner half-breed (half demon, that is) working for The Church as a cleanup man against demons when exorcisms and the like go bad. His battle here with the so-called "unbound rebel angels" has him following clues and eventually squaring off against Asmodeus, played with a stoned and lusty rock star swagger by Billy Drago. Flannery's Greyman is paired up with Starship Trooper 2's Collen Porch as a naïve but sexy nun sent to act as a "moral compass" along the way, because Asmodeus' right-hand demon is a horned and horny succubus (Tania Deighton) with a penchant for being a real tease.
On paper all this sounds well and good, perhaps more fitting as a graphic novel than as a 78-minute film, and the similarity to other genre films isn't really the problem here. I'd have been willing to fall in behind a scruffy demon hunter and a hot nun had there not been an underlying "Cannell-ization" (even if it's just his name on the cover), and far be it from me to poo-poo his television successes, but it just doesn't bode well in a story like this. The graveyard fistfight—with Greyman fighting a bunch of thugs at one time—is a hoot of choreographed TV dullness, though I'm surprised he didn't recommend a few car chases for good measure.
This whole thing just seems like a setup for something more, and despite a heaping helping of nudity and a defrocked Colleen Porch strapped to a table in her bra, the interludes between action were filled with cornball dialogue meant to sound gruff. It's unfortunate this didn't come together better, because though it isn't new there's always room for another edgy demon hunter, making my overall disappointment for Ziehl's film slightly more tragic. Because I don't think the blame is his, nor that of the story (courtesy of screenwriter/stuntman Mitch Gould), which seems like a promising idea that was likely handcuffed by a small budget and what I suspect was the formulaic hand of Cannell. Too bad.
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C
|Aspect Ratio||1.77:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Considering it's straight-to-DVD, there's a rather nice-looking 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer from Anchor Bay here. Colors and fleshtones look decent throughout, and scenes within Asmodeus' sexy lair are both dark and revealing. No evidence of print damage, with just some moderate shimmer and ringing.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: Audio choices are Dolby surround, available in either 2.0 or 5.1 mixes. Neither are particularly noteworthy though certainly suitably average, with the 5.1 option offering a slightly wider soundstage and more pronounced bottom end. Rears are used very minimally, mostly for minor music cues.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Masters of Horror, Room 6, It Waits, The Fallen Ones
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Mitch Gould, Nancy Yoon
Packaging: Amaray with slipcase
Extras Review: Anchor Bay has a way of dressing up lower tier titles, making them appear bigger than they really are. That applies to this direct-to-video title, with the Amaray case housed inside a thick cardboard slipcase. Chief among the supplements is the nudity-heavy Demons Among Us (43m:40s), an unnecessarily long but nonetheless watchable making-of EPK, in which we learn in great detail about the script origins, see Tania Deighton getting her horns applied and practicing wire work as the sexy succubus, and hear Billy Drago pontificate a bit too seriously about his portrayal of the evil Asmodeus. The one thing I walked away from was that the script sounded extremely promising, but that the final product was hindered by the usual constraints of time and money.
There's a commentary track from screenwriter/stunt coordinator Mitch Gould and actress Nancy Yoon. Gould has a lot to say, mostly prompted by Yoon, but this isn't a film that begs all that much analysis. Yoons comments ("I remember that dress") aren't particularly deep, but she chuckles about her big nude scene and tries to put Gould on the spot over a certain well-endowed nude extra. If you're dying for background info, stick with the Demons Among Us.
Also included are a handful of spooky trailers, and a well-edited Fight Sequence Rehearsal (02m:25s), set to the rocking ditty Army of One by Jenifer McLaren.
The disc is cut into 16 chapters.
Extras Grade: B-
Final CommentsThis seems more like a pilot for a television series than a movie, albeit one with plenty of bare boobs. The premise isn't necessarily new (a tormented demon hunter), and there is a sense that this would make a better comic book than a movie. As a television series, I could probably dip my expectations enough to jump on board for the ride, but as a feature film it never quite gels.
Rich Rosell 2006-02-05