Parents' Guide to

Devil's Workshop

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

So-so horror has some humor, also language, sex, violence.

Movie R 2022 86 minutes
Devil's Workshop Movie: Poster

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This lightweight, semi-comedic horror movie starts interestingly enough and has some unexpected moments, but its final stretch feels like a tasteless prank, cheapening the impact of the whole. As soon as Devil's Workshop begins, viewers identify with the insecure, misfit Clayton and root for him to succeed. Granaderos plays him with a nice combination of insecurity and cluelessness. Hirsch, who's fond of overacting in movies like Dig, gets to do his stuff again here, and it works, given that he's actually playing an over-actor. He's a perfect villain.

Writer-director Chris von Hoffmann -- who made the "Ephebiphobia" segment in Phobias -- splits the movie into two neat sections: Donald partying, and Clayton trying to tackle his inner demons. They're perfect thematic and visual opposites, and von Hoffmann uses them for character-building as well as bits of humor. The cast is fully committed, from Granaderos making actor-y faces in the mirror to Mitchell's measured, soft-spoken tones that mesmerize. And even though her role is small, Sarah Coffey has a gleefully tense moment that will throw most viewers off-balance. It's difficult to explain how everything goes wrong in Devil's Workshop without giving away the ending, but it leaves you with the notion that this was all a big joke and that none of it ever mattered. That could spark a sense of betrayal and/or a frustrating feeling that you've wasted your time.

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