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One Nasty Lil’ Devil: A Review of Belzebuth

This one was a real titty-twister. It’s hard to summarize the plot to this bizarre, bloody feast without giving away too much, and it’s also convoluted enough that it would be confusing, anyway. Let’s just say that there’s this satanic plot to murder a bunch of kids to keep the new messiah from being born (think King Herod possessed by a demon) that involves a Mexican cop, a representative from some strange Vatican paranormal society, a rebel priest with lots of tattoos like something out of a Hellboy comic, and an innocent woman and her child. Or maybe not. This all might be a lie. There’s plenty of twists and turns to keep you in your seat, and lots of blood and mayhem to keep you squirming in that seat.

Belzebuth was released on Shudder this month and boy, it’s one of those horror movies. And by one of those, I mean, it ain’t easy to watch, it’s strange and bizarre, and it will turn your stomach. It’s confrontational in all the ways a good horror film should be, but it’s also kinda funny and dumb. I really don’t know how most people will react to this and I’m not surprised it received no theatrical release, although it would great to see this carnage on the big screen.

First off, trigger warnings: this ain’t for the faint of heart. Lots of children get killed in this. And while they don’t go into gory detail, they do walk you right up to the line of it and let your imagination do the rest. Blood flows, and it gushes from dead kids. There’s a terrorist bombing, a school shooting, and an opening salvo involving knives and sacrifice that rivals the “all for you, Damian” moment in the Omen and outdoes it in sheer violence. Do not watch this if anything in the above paragraph offends you. Me, I like that it took on these societal pangs and demons. To me, that’s what good horror does.

Tobin Bell is the star of the movie as the renegade priest and hardly recognizable. I was never a fan of the Saw movies (they suck and you know it) but I always liked him. Nice to see him utilized in an interesting way. Joaquin Cosio is the detective and he gives a layered, compelling portrayal of a man who had endured a horrible tragedy only to find his life thrown into an apocalyptic horror that escalates as time passes.

My only real complaint about the film is that it’s a little too long and gets too convoluted towards the end. By the time it’s finished, I didn’t know which way was up. And that’s cool, but it was just a tad bit too much. There’s a ton of Armageddon hooey thrown in there and some of it gets lost because there’s so much of it. The paranormal guy from the Vatican never really gets explored much, he’s just sort of there and scared and yet resilient and strong all at the same time. But there is a nice resolution for the renegade priest and the cop, so there is that. All in all, the story can be as messy as the blood it plays in.

In the end, you get a real ride. There’s gore, there’s child sacrifice, there’s possession, there’s weird glyphs and sigils, there’s an overwhelming sense of dread and apocalypse, and there’s blood, lots of blood. Think of a story from Clive Barker’s Books of Blood and you’ll get the gist of this. Overall, not much fun but a total, gory, gut-twisting delight.

Three Buckets of Blood out of Four


Kelly is the author of dozens of stories and dozens of reviews, he likes to write, he likes to read, he likes going to the movies, and he loves to laugh.  He hails from the wilds of Kentucky and if you'd like to see more of his work, check out his website:

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