The Device should have been pretty awesome judging by the DVD cover. A young woman and her fiancé escort her sister to the cabin from their childhood to spread their mother’s ashes. The sisters, who haven’t talked in years, are looking to rebuild their relationship. Everything starts out well as it usually does, until the younger sister Rebecca (Kate Alden) reveals to her sister Abby (Angela DiMarco) that a family tragedy may have been something extraterrestrial. While in the woods the three discover a strange black sphere that seems to have a life of its own. Abby’s fiancé, Calvin (David S. Hogan), becomes obsessed with the sphere and smuggles it home after being told to get rid of it by the girls.
As it stands, the story is your basic alien abduction with a slight twist. I did enjoy the idea of the sphere controlling our miserable trio, but it never came to a head. A lot of this can be attributed to the limited and annoying characters. DiMarco was tasked with the unfortunate role of Abby, who acts like the most putout person in this film. Sure, her sister suffered a great tragedy as a teenager but please complain some more you uninteresting cardboard cut out. Not to mention, the only other contact we have with another character is Abby and Rebecca’s aunt who is ultimately unhelpful. There is a point in the story when Abby calls on her aunt to get some insight into their family’s past, and she basically tells her to fuck off. We don’t know the aunt previously nor do we ever meet her, so this moment of possible exposition is met with an unhelpful and useless character introduction.
As The Device trucks on we catch more visuals of the alien abductors which are actually my favorite part of the film. The sphere, as it turns out, is a homing device that allows the aliens to come back for people they previously abducted. The aliens, though, are cool looking and kind of frightening. Much to my (happy) surprise there were a lot of shots of these aliens, detail and all. But other than looking cool they aren’t anything spectacular. We don’t even get a clear reason they are taking people or brainwashing people like Calvin with the sphere.
In a very Lord of the Rings style obsession, Calvin is hypnotized and becomes a pseudo- Renfield of the aliens. Why? Well, to pad the movie I guess. There is no reason for him to do the alien’s bidding; they seem pretty capable themselves. I suppose you could say it was the filmmaker’s way of forcing the sisters to join forces but instead it just takes up more time.
The Device is a case where a feature length flick is a bit much, but a short version could have been something. The ending is predictable which can sometimes be forgiven if the rest of the movie holds up, but mostly it’s just a snoozefest with two sisters yelling at eachother for 90 minutes. I miss when sci-fi/horror delivered on both real scares and good monsters. Check out the trailer below, it’s better than the movie.