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In DEVIL’S WORKSHOP (2022), Directed by Chris von Hoffmann, struggling actor Clayton (Timothy Granaderos; that I just saw in WHO INVITED THEM) can’t deal with the fact that his acting class rival, Donald (Emile Hirsch) gets every part he auditions for even though he’s a terrible actor. When they both get callbacks for a coveted role in a horror film, Clayton decides to visit a demonologist named Eliza (Radha Mitchell) to prepare.

While there, she tells him that she will help rid him of his the demons that are holding him back by performing a “ritual.” Though skeptical, Clayton agrees to participate as research for the role. The steps needed to prepare for the exorcism start to escalate, as Eliza moves from kindness to cruelty in an effort to push Timothy to the limit. He also uncovers some unusual artifacts that make him question her authenticity … and his safety.

This builds tension well, but the ending comes across as a little bit silly. It’s also hard to sit with a film that takes so much time getting to the climax. There were some hints of what was to come, but I think trimming it a bit would’ve strengthened the impact and held my interest more easily.

That said, the acting was great! Like seriously Radha Mitchell is a goddess who plays the hell out of every role, and I really enjoyed the way she & Timothy played against one another. Even Emile plays his part as the annoying douche so perfectly that I hated every second he was screen. The score also turned things up a notch. Extra points for the clever way they get Clayton to ditch his cell phone by having Eliza say, “It fuels nothing but jealousy and despair” TRUTH.

Bottom line: this is an indie horror made with love that’s worth your time. Hold onto your butts for that last 15 minutes! Now available on demand on all major platforms.

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