Alice Oscura – Featured Writer
This one is my little diamond in the rough. I am super excited to share this with you guys The Devil to Pay is a thriller like none other I have seen lately. It is absolutely brilliant in its simplicity and star Danielle Deadwyler (Gifted and HBO’s Watchmen) delivers a stellar performance. Directed and written by husband and wife team Lane and Ruckus Skye, it tells the story of Lemon Cassidy (Deadwyler), a struggling farmer living in an Appalachian community. When her husband goes missing, she fights to save her son when the cold-hearted matriarch of one of the oldest families living on the mountain demands payment of a debt.
Whether Deadwyler is completely silent or speaking words of wisdom, she is simply perfect as Lemon Cassidy. She steals every scene she’s in with her very wide, expressive eyes, true grit and pure determination. You are riveted from the opening credits and although the build up is a bit slow, it is remarkably done. The audience gets to form a relationship with Lemon by watching how hard she works and relates to her son, Coy (Ezra Haslam). And can I just say how much I loved her name, Lemon. It metaphorically suits the character and her struggles. The Appalachian folkways sets the stage for some stereotypical mountain men characters that are all about old feuds and older traditions, a world unto itself governed by their own laws and hierarchy.
The cinematography is breathtaking, showing us the beauty of the mountains and the richness of the colors and landscapes. The folk music played in the background is melodical and catchy. But the diversity and strangeness of the supporting cast gives this thriller, and main character Lemon,their strength. Deadwyler’s performance has this flawless timing of emotional display where she shows no weakness in front of her adversary and only breaks down when she is well and alone. She allows herself the shortest time possible to get the moment off her chest and then game-face-trudge-unto-the-task-at-hand because her son needed her. She becomes a shotgun-wielding heroine whose unassuming, vulnerable air is matched evenly by her tenacity, quiet cunning, and wit.
Lemon belongs to a society that seems frozen in time and her adversary is Tommy (Catherine Dyer from Stranger Things), whose happy homemaking, Stepford Wife-like demeanour barely conceals her more sinister nature beneath. She masters control over her brothers to do her evil bidding very much like the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz.
This film is one riveting, classic ride and it has the potential of becoming a cult classic in the genre in my opinion.
Alice’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump.
I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook, my Instagram is alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For more on me you can click here.