After a man, Justin, witnesses his girlfriend being taken by a demon, he follows the instructions in a book to summon a demon who might be able help him. Introducing Lo, a crippled demon who must obey his master who summoned him. Meanwhile Lo tries his best to change Justin's plans.
I've been following this film slowly for a while but somehow it went under my radar as closer to finished it got, because I had totally missed that it was finished. As soon as I noticed it was I contacted director Travis Betz in hopes that I could get a screener of the movie. And I did! But first I found out when talking to him that he also made a little horror movie a few years back called "Joshua". This came as a big surprise to me as I have been a fan of the movie since it was first released. I always thought "Joshua" was a borderline creepy horror movie with some really fucked up characters in it. It's a film I rarely hear about though, and it seemed from Travis that it's a film many don't enjoy quite as much as I do. But I think that after people have seen "Lo", they will go back to his older stuff and find the little twisted film "Joshua". Anyway, this review is about "Lo"...
The movie starts in a dark room, or place if you will, and it actually stays in that exact place through the entire film, with our lead Justin sitting in the middle of a circle of candles, and the demons appearing outside of the circle (they can't cross it). Justin has summoned the demon Lo to find his lost girlfriend. All he knows is that she was taken away by a demon. Lo must obey his orders, however he tries his best not to. With his wit and mindtricks, he slowly tries to change Justin's mind about his girlfriend, April. What amazed me the most about the film is the amount of dialogue and the lack of action. It focuses pretty much only on dialogue, and the few times it shows some backstory to Justin and April, it is done as if it was a stage play, with a painted background. Be it in a restaurant, in front of a Christmas tree, or in the bedroom, everything surrounding them in the room is painted on the wall. So again the characters are in focus. The movie relies alot on comedy as all the demons in the film have their own little ways of being witty, mean, silly or bring out information. Take the nazi demon as an example, who sings. Or the murdered couple who we only see as siluettes behind a bloody sheet.
The demons look fantastic in the film. They all have full-body make-up and you rarely notice that it's fake. I mean, obviously it is, it's demons, but it's just really well done. The gore is okay, it's not as good as it could've been, but then again we don't have that much of it. The main thing I noticed was when his hand wound said what he was thinking (yes, you heard me. He has a wound in his hand that says everything he is thinking..), because it's a gore/wound effect that we focus on alot more than the other cuts.
Travis Betz really went out of his way to make a romantic film as original and odd as possible. And to be honest, the movie is pretty damn original. I love it when a movie can stay at one spot throughout and remain interesting. "Phone Booth" is a movie that comes to mind. "Lo" does this without a worry and then some. The movie is independent excellence, but there is something missing in it that keeps it from being perfect. I can't get my finger on what it might be, which annoys me. Even though it isn't perfect, it's a movie everyone should watch. It takes a bunch of familiar themes and throws them in a mixer, and leave us completely disoriented. If Travis Betz continues making as solid movies as this and "Joshua", we might witness some amazing things in the future.