Lo

I felt compelled to write about this movie.  While it definitely has its fair share of flaws, it remains one of the freshest things I’ve seen in a while.  The film Lo, is about a man who summons a demon to rescue his girlfriend from hell.  Through the course of the story, he struggles to get what he wants from the demon and we learn more about the characters involved.  It’s filmed on a shoe-string budget yet holds its weight as a dark comedy/love story.

First the bad: Lo is at its strongest when it stays with the relationship between demon and summoner.  The backstory, which builds the relationship between the main character and the girl he is attempting to rescue, is pretty weak with a surplus of unconvincing dialogue and acting to go around.  Given that this is the impetus for our main character to deal with a demon in order to get her back, it is a serious flaw in the filmmaking.  Also, the scenes with the main character talking to his hand are too reminiscent of Evil Dead and don’t seem to work, especially since the main actor is no Bruce Campbell.  Topping it off, there is a musical lounge scene that would be only moderately funny even if it wasn’t 5 minutes too  long.

On the flip side, the film has a lot of strengths: the demon Lo probably being the biggest.  The character is well written, the actor does a phenomenal job portraying him and the high-quality costume gives the film a polished, professional feel.   In addition, I loved much of the writing and the concept had me engaged from the start.  The set was also fantastic.  Most of the movie takes place in a circle surrounded by utter darkness, with a cheesy proscenium stage making an occasional appearance in the void to host the replaying of the protagonist’s memories.  The idea of interdimensional contact is a tricky one, because in a way the summoner is both in his place and in hell.  The movie manages to remind us of both.  The pitch black of the set conveys the alien and dangerous territory that surrounds the circle; yet also prior to the invoking of the demon, we see the protagonist leave the circle into the darkness and hear him fumble in the kitchen for a knife.  I probably enjoy stuff like that too much.

You see, Lo explores a relationship that has always darkly fascinated me: the relationship between a demon and its summoner.  The concept behind a demon summoning is terrifying.  At least it should be.  The idea being: that you summon a demon and command it to do your bidding, and hopefully have what it takes to make it obey you.  Demons are not fond of being bossed around by humans and will do everything in their power to trick you and drag your ass screaming down to hell.  You see, it’s only that little circle that you sit in during your summoning that keeps the demon from ripping you to shreds and taking your soul.  You’ve opened the possibility simply by summoning it.  And if a toe edges over that circle line, your protection is forfeit and you’re in the hands of an ancient, powerful being with an infinite capacity for evil, who happens to have you at the top of its shitlist.

So as you can see, the interaction between demon and summoner has the potential to be an interesting one, and that is one of the movie’s greatest strengths.  You watch the relationship develop through the film.  Initially our summoner is rather bumbling, later he proves to be made of stronger stuff than initally suspected.  The story manages to give some good laughs, go to some surprising places and finishes strongly.  All in all, I’d say its not going to be for everyone.  However, I do think its just my speed.  Travis Betz, keep up the good work.