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Damien Film review


Created and Directed by: #BobbyMarno

Film review by: Brian Penn

Damien (2021)

Calling any film ‘Damien’ is a courageous and willing hostage to fortune. Particularly when it invites obvious comparison with the 1976 classic directed by Richard Donner, not to mention numerous sequels and spin-offs. However, this ‘Damien’ is markedly different in a number of ways. Shot in a documentary style director Bobby interviews his friend Damien, a farmer of some repute. It becomes a documentary about the making of a documentary as they struggle to capture the essence of a man of the land. Early exchanges are not promising as the conversation ranges from 3-D printing to Victorian pumps and pet names for livestock. The most controversial topic is the distinction between a hill and mountain. Bobby’s frustration gradually builds as Damien does not appear to be as engaging on screen as he hoped.

But as the film crew begin to explore the farmland and nearby woods they uncover a dark secret that puts the flamed haired, mild mannered farmer in an entirely new light. What could possibly be lurking out there; the intrepid film makers are anxious to brighten up a routine documentary but do they really want or need to know?

The first half of the film is uneventful to say the least; many would be underwhelmed by the lack of activity were it not for the caption in the opening frames. It provides an enticing carrot to hold the viewer’s attention and reassurance there is a lot more to this particular story. The film dramatically ramps up at the halfway point and the reward is there, but makes you wait for the pay-off that you know is coming. There is an intelligent blend of comedy and suspense in a narrative that is hugely likeable. The principal characters are heavily bearded so are naturally reminiscent of 1980s pop combo ZZ Top. This only heightens the comedic edge that is never too far away.

The single hand held camera gives it an edgy sense of realism and ultimate parody that soon becomes apparent. After all, film makers wandering into the woods for the purpose of making a documentary can only be nodding in one direction. But then again it’s much stronger than the genre it appears to be aping, and provides a gently teasing narrative to keep you hooked.

Watch the trailer here:


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