August 10, 2014

VOD Review: The Damned (2014)
In researching this one, we were a bit surprised to find that there weren't any reviews of The Damned (formerly, Gallows Hill) on Rotten Tomatoes as of yet. I guess that mainstream film critics are too busy writing the 457th review of Transformers 4 or TMNT to be bothered reviewing a movie that might actually benefit from some word of mouth, whether it be good or bad.

I guess what I'm saying is that as more and more smaller movies turn to VOD for exposure, you'd think that more critics would make an effort to review them, and actually give them some exposure. That's just us though.


From the first time that we saw its trailer, we had mixed feelings about The Damned; Director Victor Garcia's last movie was the abysmal Hellraiser: Revelations, so how could we be truly optimistic about his latest genre project being any sort of good, you know? That Hellraiser debacle wasn't really all his fault, but his name is still on it, so he owns it, for better or for worse.

The good news is that while not perfect by any stretch, The Damned is a huge step up in quality for Garcia, and he's definitely redeemed himself with his latest effort.

David and his fiancee Lauren travel to Colombia to bring his daughter, Jill, home. You see, Jill ran away from home because daddy went and got himself a hot new girlfriend way too soon after her mother died. Why she would run off to the land of Cartels and Cocaine instead of somewhere like Vegas, or Europe or something though, we can't say.

Yeah, you're pretty much the evil stepmother.
After finding Jill hanging out with friends, they all head off on some sloppy, deserted Colombian back road, where they promptly flip their car. Glad to be alive, the group makes their way to a deserted Hotel, where they find that the old man who runs the joint has been keeping a little girl locked in a room in the basement. Now, at this point, any reasonable person would be all like "We're just going to go ahead and walk our asses to that village down the road. Take care, Pappy," and get the hell out of there. Makes sense to do that in a foreign country where you could easily disappear, and no one would ever know what happened to you, right?

Is now really the best time to be teaching her Judo moves, Peter Facinelli?
Of course the idiot Americans don't do the sensible thing, instead they take it upon themselves to free the poor little girl, and help her escape from the creepy old man and the horrible abuse that he's no doubt put her through... except that the little girl is actually a centuries-old Witch, and the old man has been keeping her locked in that room as a service to humanity. Once again, meddling outsiders make things worse by failing to mind their own business.

Will anyone survive their trip to Gallows Hill? Will the Witch escape, and go do whatever Witches do when they escape from somewhere? Does this movie redeem Peter Facinelli for starring in those god-awful Twilight movies? Far be it from us to spoil anything for you here, but suffice it to say that this movie is definitely a big step up from Twilight for Mr. Facinelli, although the paycheck probably wasn't as great.

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
The script may be weak in spots, and a few scenes throughout the movie didn't quite ring true because of that fact, but overall this is an effective movie that did a lot of things right. The Damned has atmosphere to spare, and Director Victor Garcia uses it to maximum effect to give us one hell of a creepy "Haunted House" flick.

We really loved the idea of whoever kills the Witch gets possessed by her spirit, which basically makes her immortal unless you're willing to kill yourself right after killing her. That fun little plot twist made for some great moments throughout the movie.

The cast all does a fine job here, but it's Julieta Salazar that steals most of the scenes that she's in; she plays the little girl Witch to maximum creepy effect, and she did a great job of creeping us out more than once. The kid has an intense glare that made us believe that she was actually dangerous. Hopefully she keeps acting, because we'd love to see her in more creepy roles like this.

El creepy.
So, you're a bunch of gringos in Colombia, where people disappear and are murdered all the time, and you feel its fine to go snooping around some creepy old guy's home? That is the precise definition of asking for trouble.

This isn't America, dummies, this is Colombia; maybe in Columbia it's alright to keep little girls locked in a sub-basement! Even if it's not, why not let the local Police sort it out while you're on the next plane home?

"Freeze, gringo bitches!"
So you have a Witch (who is responsible for the deaths of basically everyone around you) tied up in front of you, and when she starts sharing daddy's secrets, you're all like "Dad! I hate you!" and then you storm off in a fit of childlike rage? With all of the chaos and trauma going on around you, your delicate sensibilities are what's important?

When something like that happens in a movie, it makes the threat that the characters are facing seem lesser for us as viewers. I mean, if the characters have time to pout and thrown tantrums like that, how dire can their situation really be?

She, however, has a valid reason for being pissed off...
People get shot, cut, and one of them even vomits blood. There's a fair amount of blood and gore in this one.

She's a bit cheeky.
Carolina Guerra gets wet and mostly topless, and Sophia Myles wears a clingy shirt that shows off some cleavage.

Ay bay bay.
If you ever find a little girl locked in a room in someone else's basement, leave her there. Also, "My little puss puss" is actually a nickname that some people think is endearing.

If you're in the mood for an atmospheric, creepy "Haunted House" type of flick, then The Damned is your ticket. Despite its logical missteps, this one was a fun watch, and most Horror fans should dig its creepy vibe.


The Damned is available now on VOD, and will be in Limited Theaters on August 29th.

It's been over a decade since we first saw Sophia Myles in Underworld, and she's still looking good all these years later. Great, even. Also, Carolina Guerra can get it.


  1. Ah, I was kind of confused because you haven't reviewed it the last time I looked (- I look every day! I really like your site.) and in fact, I think that the renaming from "Gallow Hills" to "The Damned" was the better choice because I was wondering why there was no depiction of the said Hils or I felt asleep at the point they have been shown! There were plot holes as big as the flood those idiots decided to ignore, just because this chick was convinced that as a local she must be smarter than the police who tell them to use another road. At least, this chick is hot and I watched the film in a version, in which the breasts were shortly visible.

    Acting overall was solid, with the little girl making it to a higher level than the others involved.

    The ending was sappy. I saw it coming but still it's sappy.

    We learn that Americans act like idiots no matter where they are.

  2. Guerra has one hell of a nice right nipple!!