Devil's Messenger (2003) Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
This may be a 60s Black and White, but it was way ahead of its time. One could easily call it an excellent forerunner of the “Devil’s Advocate.” The world will probably remember Chaney Jr as the gentle and sympathetic wolf man. But he is a GREAT devil! The movie starts with a young woman (Kadler) who killed herself over lost love. She confronts the devil and he says: “Love, well, love is such a stupid emotion.” This may sound strange, but think about it! Isn’t it stupid to kill yourself over someone who doesn’t love you?
Moving on, perhaps seeing her potential, Chaney makes a deal with her that if she does some tasks for him, she could escape the worst parts of hell. (She has to deliver cursed items up to earth.) This leads to 3 separate stories that eventually connect. (The 1st deals with a man sexually obsessed with several women. The 2nd deals with a man who betrays his profession and friends over a woman frozen in ice.)
The signature moment is when Kadler rebukes the devil for messing up people’s lives, and he responds: “Dear, people ruin their own lives.” The devil can tempt and persuade, but we make our own decisions. If we notice, the parties the devil picks out already had problems to begin with.
In an especially chilling moment, Chaney manipulates Kadler’s most vulnerable emotion. He offers her a chance to get even with the man who rejected her. Needless to say, Kadler gets more enthusiastic about her work. The 3rd story deviates from the standard formula and focuses on revenge more than anything. (Kadler’s x lover is not really a bad person, and we really have no reason to dislike him.) One could even defend his act of murder in that a reasonable person would have felt threatened. But the 3rd story does compensate with fear, suspense, and tragic irony.
Another reason I consider this a masterpiece ahead of its time is because while some movies glorify war, this movie seems to emphasize that war is hell on earth. And while suicide over love is a common thing, we have an interesting conversation that could occur between the parties: “I’m not in love with her, and I haven’t been for a long time!” In one brief moment, we see how stupid suicide over love is.
Between the great acting, the scenery, the scary stories, the memorable themes, and the sudden unification of 3 great stories, this movie is a masterpiece of horror!
About Devil's Messenger (2003)
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., Karen Kadler, Michael Hinn, John Crawford, Ralph Brown (III)
Runtime: 72 minutes
Director: Curt Siodmak Herbert L. Strock