Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Lo' (2009)
Demons present 'Shakespeare in the Park.'
How do you hide the fact that your movie's budget is the same size as "Shakespeare in the Park?" Make a production that looks not entirely unlike "Shakespeare in the Park." A good friend of mine pointed out that, "If you don't have the budget, make the lack of budget look intentional." Here's the thing, it really worked. This movie is nothing more than a conversation between a mortal and a powerful demon called Lo. The conversation takes place in a single room, the mortal’s apartment, which is transformed into a dark stage. From that point on, everything happening in the movie is nothing more than the conjurings of the demon Lo as a sort of "dog and pony show" for the mortal who summoned her. Meaning, Lo, for her general amusement, could very well be providing a performance that intentionally looks ridiculous.
There's actually a lot to support this premise. Lo is not happy about being summoned by this mortal, but can’t get away from him until he lets her go. He states he'll only let her go if she takes him through hell to save his girlfriend who is trapped there, thus providing us with the general premise for the plot. The shows that Lo puts on are really just a distraction to try and convince the mortal to give up and let her go back to hell. Or worse, trick the mortal into letting his guard down so Lo can kill him.
You get the distinct feeling that all the actors are other demons that Lo is forcing to participate. The movie makes a direct point to showcase their displeasure with having to put on constant performances. They break their own internal fourth wall so many times it goes beyond ridiculous. All the little extras portray a genuine sense of frustration with having to put aside their general demonly duties for the purpose of amusing Lo and confusing the mortal who summoned her.
Even if this whole premise didn't fit, the presentation lowers the mark pretty far on expectations, so what really is there to complain about? The movie looks like it was shot in one night by the kids from drama club, which only makes it more fun.
There is a slight problem and perhaps it’s because of where these actors got their training. There's a difference between stage acting and movie acting, and these kids just don't seem to know the difference. So when they ham it up, MAN do they fucking ham it up. And it's not like the rest of the movie which is "ironically" hammy. You can tell that's just how these kids roll and it just doesn't always fucking work. Once or twice it was even a little irritating.
The only other issue I have is a personal taste thing. While most of this movie makes fun of the romance at the center, there is a bit of drama there and they have to pay it serious credit at the end of the movie. I have to admit, sticky romances just aren't my bag. But I love the sight gags, musical numbers, silly antics, and the exchange between the male lead and the demons Lo. The ending, while clever, just left me groaning, and let me be clear, it was very clever.
I’m not spoiling this one, and it’s one of the few movies you will ever see on my reviews that doesn’t contain spoilers. It's extremely fun, even intentionally riff-worthy. You can tell the actors were having a blast and most of the ham is intentional. All around, the movie is pretty good and I'd highly recommend it to general adult audiences and riffers. It may be a tad bit avant-garde for Horror Heads, but they may still want to give it a shot.