Directed by Geovanni Molina | Review by Antonio Rozich
[dropcap]When[/dropcap] thinking about limitations filmmakers face, we cannot just think but talk about the biggest one. A limitation that only specific filmmakers face is the ones who have the unlucky passion for creating Sci-Fi.
It’s one thing to create a drama or horror when you’re running on a budget, but it’s a completely new level when you want to shoot a Sci-Fi movie. Sci-Fi movies depend on great visuals more than any other genre. Thus, you need a decent budget to create a believable visual presentation. This doesn’t mean that story or character development is less important. It means if you want to create a good Sci-Fi movie, you need to make sure all Sci-Fi elements are believable. The whole idea of Sci-Fi is to create something that either doesn’t exist or isn’t discovered. So yeah, it can get tricky when you don’t have millions at your disposal.
Still, it is possible, and Demonia Undertaker by Geovanni Molina found a way to make that happen.
You need to understand the gravity of this problem. Imagine if you want to be a filmmaker and your passion is Sci-Fi. Thankfully, CGI has become less expensive in the last decade, but still. You need to create top-quality props, top-quality effects, and at the same time a great story to integrate everything. So by having a filmmaker deciding to take on this crazy task, he already faces numerous obstacles. And he didn’t even start!
Demonia Undertaker revolves around Staleth (Geovanni Molina) who’s on the hunt for Tanash. Staleth and Tanash share past as they were both pupils trained to protect the universe. But Tanash got corrupted by an alien called Demonia and turned on everything he and Staleth were taught. Tanash discovers Earth and decides to have some ‘fun’ there. And in Tanash’s language “fun” means running a killing spree all over the place. Staleth is sent to stop his ex-friend before he does even more damage.
That’s the story, and it’s rather simple. You have a good guy, and you have the good guy turned bad guy who needs to be stopped. Behind the bad guy, there’s an entire evil force trying to take over the entire universe. Yes, it reminds of Star Wars, but then again, Star Wars wasn’t the first movie to use this formula, just the one that made it popular.
Both Staleth and Tanash have psychic abilities, and this creates a perfect foundation for various conflicts that happen throughout the movie. As Tanash can possess humans, he constantly switches from one to another. This enables him to manipulate his surrounding easily and confuse Staleth.
Tanash is a crazy character full of madness, and it’s interesting to see how he’s portrayed by every next person he takes over. Naturally, each new person is played by a new character, so you have numerous actors playing the same role. This might not sound complicated at first, but keep in mind all the actors had to portray him equally. If the movie failed at that, it would have been a huge blow to the overall impression, but all the actors did a perfect job.
When it comes to Staleth, he’s your classic good guy with a troubled past. He has a strong moral belief but is plagued by the emotions he has for Tanash. He has to stop him even it means killing him, so you could say he isn’t the best guy for the job. But still, he’s the only one who can do it.
This creates another interesting movie element where friendship and duty collide. Staleth knows he must not restrain himself if he wants to stop Tanash, but most of the times he can’t help himself. And that makes you think. Is Staleth’s inability to do what’s right is a certain form of evil as well? This blurs the line between good and evil, and it tells us how rarely if ever, things are just black and white.
The “Sci-Fi” element is done decently. Special effects are used just when needed. And the introduction is gorgeous for an independent movie. It might even trick you into thinking this was made in a Hollywood studio.
So has Molina managed to overcome this great obstacle all Sci-Fi filmmakers face? Not completely, but he made a huge step towards succeeding. All that’s left is to wait and see what the next step will be.
While he isn’t writing for Cult Critic, Antonio Rozich is working as a copywriter for a filmmaking startup called Try Cinema. Besides his usual copywriting, he also helps filmmakers with their screenplays by editing them and finding the ways to improve the initial filmmaker’s idea. When all of that is done, he turns to his true & original love: writing flash fiction, which he posts regularly on his site Syeta Stories.