Demonology of Desire, The (Short, 2007)

Click here for all the Fantasia news & reviews!Demonology of Desire review (click to see it bigger)Reviewed by Johnny Butane

Starring Bianca Rusu, Tudor Plopeanu, Jewelia Fisico

Directed by Rodrigo Gudino

The second directing effort for former Rue Morgue Editor in Chief Rodrigo Gudino is about as different from his first, “The Eyes of Edward James” (review), as one can get and will most likely be much more indicative of his style when he gets behind the camera to helm his first feature.

The short played as part of Fantasia’s Small Gauge Trauma but, much to the chagrin of pretty much everyone in attendance, had some projection issues and ended up playing about 70% darker than it actually is, making most scenes impossible to see. Thankfully I was able to get a screener from the man before the show was over to see it the way it was meant to be seen, and of course it only enhanced what I had already determined to be another example of a talented director flexing his skills.

One night, young Ramona (Rusu) makes a wish. She asks God to bring her a man; a man who cannot eat or drink or breath until he meets her, a man who will go insane with jealousy whenever she talks to anyone else, and she wants this man immediately. Though we don’t get too much of a backstory on Ramona, what we see during the title sequence is enough to give us the insight that this is a very, very disturbed young lady. As if her prayer weren’t enough.

The next day her wish seemingly comes true as she finds herself being followed by Eric (Plopeanu), who insists that he loves her and will do anything for her. She convinces him to go with her and her supposed best friend Sara (Fisico) to Sara’s house, where they drink and dance and Ramona gets Eric to do increasingly more disturbing actions to prove his love to her.

The boy is smitten, to say the least, and barely flinches until things get very serious indeed, when bloodshed comes into play, but could it all be the work of the hideous creature the girls have caged in the basement?

When you see this beast, the main element of the film we missed when it played on the big screen, you really can’t help but note it’s resemblance to the female genitalia, something I seriously doubt was unintentional. The film is called “The Demonology of Desire”, after all, so there’s got to be some kind of sexual power game going on. Indeed, Ramona seems more interested in making sure Eric proves his love to her than with anything sexual, which either stems from her insecurities and warped belief of what love is (“It’s not love if there’s no suffering. Everyone knows that.”) or the effect the creature in the basement is having on them all.

Or could the monstrosity be the physical embodiment of sexual desire, leaving the characters to pursue the lofty goal of “love” for other reasons? It’s very hard to tell and you really can’t expect someone like Rodrigo to actually give you the answers can you? That would take all the fun out of figuring out just what is going on here.

The monster design deserves special mention just because it’s very inventive, sick and almost Cornenbergian, though less subtle. It’s brought to life with puppetering rather than CG, an appreciated move, and aside from a vaguely human form looks about as alien as you can get while still, as previously mentioned, seeming very familiar.

Though the end shot doesn’t make a lot of sense, Ramona choosing one path out of the house, then switching direction, I’m sure there’s got to be some significance to it. Actually there’s a lot in “Demonology” that is left unexplained but since it would only serve to slow things down we can look past it with the belief that Gudino felt it was best to leave some (most?) things to personal interpretation. As it stands the short is a breezy 22 minutes that really only drags at one small part.

Based on this and “Eyes of Edward James”, I really can’t wait to see where Gudino goes with his directing future; as I said neither film are similar to one another, which is indicative of Gudino’s diverse taste in concepts, something any Rue Morgue reader should be well aware of. Hopefully they will both make their way to DVD soon, but keep your eyes here on Dread Central to find out what festivals “Demonology of Desire” is playing throughout the summer and beyond!

4 out of 5

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Johnny Butane

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