'Twas The Devil - Film Review

★★★

Written & Directed by: #MarkGarvey

Starring: #CallumOakabyWright, #MarkGarvey, #MaureenRoche

Film Review by Taryll Baker

Poster for 'Twas The Devil

'Twas the Devil is an interactive "choose-your-own-folktale" set in England's dark past at a time at which the Devil and witchcraft were all too real.


Right off the bat, this new interactive feature from Mark Garvey is a superbly intriguing film. It follows a man who journeys across a mysterious land, meeting interesting characters and instant events that the viewer must navigate through. And since this is a “choose your own path” story, my ending will be different to that of another’s. ’Twas The Devil is captured in black and white, and cinematographer (also writer and director) Mark Garvey uses the camera in wonderful ways. There’s some impressive shot choices and the grittiness in the visual supplements the creaky tone in the story.


Bill Hooper’s music is haunting, screechy, and bombastic in all the best ways. It really adds to the dreary atmosphere created in this interactive experience, with that folklore edge as expected. Lots of variety with choir, stringed instruments and percussive sounds. ’Twas The Devil may not be an easy story to follow, in fact it often feels so dreamy and chaotic that it gives off the impression of style over substance, but it’s certainly an achievement. More media is being crafted with the purpose of the viewer choosing the outcome, and it can’t be an easy thing to pull off, so the cast and crew have my respect in that regard.


The performances from the entire cast are rich with texture and enthusiasm. It reminds me very much of wandering through the world of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and bumping into the many strange non-player characters, though like when playing that video game, I often found myself wanting to skip through large amounts of dialogue. It’s often overwhelming how much these characters seem to interject themselves into the path of Miles, almost seeming as if a gimmick rather than something that aided the story.


Mark Garvey is clearly very talented and this is definitely more of an experiment of his skill set rather than something for the average film fan. To put it plainly, ’Twas The Devil has a phenomenal plan and is executed flawlessly on a technical level, it just seems as if the trouble of making it an interactive experience wasn’t so necessary. It has splendid visuals, eerie music, and an incredible variety in supporting characters, but the meandering pace and interfering choices dampened an otherwise entertaining and well made film. I’m wondering what the other multiple endings could be, but I’m not so sure I’d be willing to trek through it again to find out.


Watch the trailer for 'Twas The Devil below.

#TaryllBaker