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MOVIE REVIEW: KURTIS SPIELER’S THE DEVIL’S WELL (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: KURTIS SPIELER’S THE DEVIL’S WELL (2017)

Bryan and Karla Marks are a husband and wife team of paranormal investigators. While conducting an investigation at an infamous area in Connecticut known as the Devil’s Well, Karla mysteriously vanishes. Nearly one year later, Bryan seeks the help of a local paranormal group known as SIGNS. The SIGNS team attempts to document the aftermath of Karla’s disappearance through interviews with her friends, family, and those involved in the case. Bryan and the SIGNS team then head back to the Devil’s Well in order to try an uncover the truth about Karla’s disappearance.

From the mind of Kurtis Spieler, we are given The Devil’s Well his feature length film exploring the creepy world of the found footage genre.

The Devil's Well (2017)

This film was originally slated for release, titled The Unexplained disappearance of Karla Marks in early in 2017, but Wild Eye Releasing (responsible for distrusting films such as Daniel Ray’s Heidi)picked up for distribution and now has an official release date of January 23rd, 2018. And deservingly so.

The Devil's Well (2017)The film unfolds in the style of a documentary, somewhat like The Poughkeepsie Tapes, telling us of the disappearance of a paranormal investigator named Karla Marks. We are also introduced to other elements of the case and what has transpired. Using what Spieler has powerfully written and teaming that with his artful direction, we are pulled into a web of paranormal confusion.

The narrative is very realistic and the film features a strong series of characters, but the film’s somber tones and enveloping style draw you in and make you swallow these concepts hook, line, and sinker.

The realism of this film is so questionable, in parts, that you immediately feel a need to research further (as the lines of fiction somewhat become blurred).

The cast is fantastic! Each playing their characters so genuinely that the believability factor is quite high.

We watch the narrative flip from authentically inventive interviews to police recordings and paranormal footage. The combined effect is that this film conveys a seemingly honest and believable reality of a terrible tragedy that has occurred.

The Devil's Well (2017)Actress Anne-Marie Mueschke plays the lead and though we ultimately see relatively little of her character Karla, we see enough to understand her role within the film.

Of course, the suspicions for her disappearance originally fall on Karla’s co-ghost hunter and husband Bryan. Bryan is played by Manley Davis. Known for a sequence of TV roles and short films, Davis is quite convincing in his plea for the truth of what has happened to his partner. We watch him being tormented by the questions still needing answers, and feeling berated when the blame is cast upon him. Through this performance I feel Davis‘ future is obviously bright. It is easy to see a natural honest demeanor on film within him, and he will be an asset to any other roles he will undertake.

The quirky and humorous cast of enjoyable paranormal investigators referred to as SIGNS all help keep the central theme of the film together and add at times a lightness, that is desired within the darkened content of the film. Within the investigations at the “Devil’s Well”, we see much of the action, thrills, and despair between the cast.

At the moments where it counts, they put on their characters proverbial game faces and take the case as serious as necessary.

The notion of something evil lurking in the shadows seems to grow as we watch on and so does their feeling of unease on screen.

I have to applaud the supporting performances of actors Chris Viemeister (as Lucas Baker), David Alexander (as Kris Manners), Kristen Seavey (as Riley Harper), Jon Gregory (as Dennis Howard), Lauren Sowa (as Lynn Baker), and Kurtis Spieler (yes, our writer/director plays Kurt Schafer).

The Devil's Well (2017)This film has sequences that genuinely play out like those on those paranormal ghost shows on cable TV. Visually we have the darkly lit rooms and each of their panicked faces as they race around trying to find the rational explanations accountable for what has happened with Karla. We hear the quivering in their voices as these normally composed analytical minds crumble under the uncertainty of what they have agreed to face. Ultimately, we watch their demise unfold uneasily.

In the quest for the truth of the “Devils Well”… will anyone survive?

You’ll need to watch it to find out.


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