While on assignment, hitmen Pinner (Billy Clarke) and Cully (Jack Gordon) wait for their target at the man’s home in the dead of night. To pass the time, Pinner relates the story of a dancer he knew in the 1960s who met an untimely death. The tale is interrupted, however, by strange noises coming from outside the house. Investigating, the hitmen soon discover the man they have come to eliminate is a black magician who collects the souls of the damned…
With all of the action happening off-screen and much of the 75minutes running time consisting of talk, director Sean Hogan‘s The Devil’s Business evokes radio dramas of old like the 1970s BBC series, The Price of Fear; stage plays like An Inspector Calls; and TV anthologies like Hammer House of Horror.
Occasionally there are some nice cinematic touches, particularly Pinner’s glowing eyes as he resumes his tale; a red ball bouncing down the stairs a la Fellini’s Toby Dammit; a comic scene in which Pinner shares a drink with a dead man; and a scary basement encounter – all accompanied by a superior sound score by Justin Greaves. But the lack of action is evident throughout. As such, The Devil’s Business is a creepy bedtime story that would work better in a horror anthology than as a feature. Just shave 15minutes and it would do quite nicely.
The Devil’s Business also screens on The Horror Channel (Sky 319, Virgin 149, Freesat 138), with the next showing on Monday 16 June at 10.55pm