Director: Paul Tanter
Writer: Paul Tanter
Stars: Simon Phillips, Juliette Bennett, Will de Meo
Shame the Devil is another release from the one man film production line that is Simon Phillips. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Phillips – and I find it hard to believe that there are some of you out there – he is a producer and writer who churns out roughly four or five low budget movies a year, most of which he also stars in as well. He’s a curious presence, a slightly chubby bloke who comes across much like someone you’d meet in the pub; or, let me rephrase that, someone you’d meet in the pub who has already been in there drinking the afternoon away. As such it’s no surprise that most of his films have the word ‘Hooligan’ in the title, although he was also behind the low budget noir ‘Jack’ trilogy (Jack Says, Jack Said, Jack Falls), horror films (Strippers vs Werewolves, Airborne) and an unlikely comedy (How to Stop Being a Loser). None of them, needless to say, are exactlyworks of art.
Shame the Devil is a fairly typical case in point. It seems to be aiming to be Seven, but it actually comes across more like a weaker episode from the TV series Wire in the Blood. Phillips plays James, a cop with relationship issues who is investigating a series of peculiar murders in which the victims are killed when they tell a lie. The methods of death are of course as creative as they are improbable (one victim is hooked up to a booby trapped lie detector, another has his pacemaker manipulated). With no idea who could be behind it, James flied to New York to seek the assistance of his ex-lover Sarah (Juliette Bennett).
As with most Phillips films this boasts a couple of familiar faces in Doug Bradley (Pinhead from the Hellraiser films) and TV regular Peter Woodward (Edward’s kid). Phillips himself is an actor of modest skills, although he’s made to look like Robert De Niro by the frankly terrible Juliette Bennett. Director Paul Tranter is a regular associate of Phillips and he directs in a no-nonsense, rudimentary fashion which does the job and little more. Not exactly a masterpiece, it frankly hardly mediocre. But you have to applaud Phillips and Trantor for their efforts and for their ability to get films made, even if they’re not very good.