Directed by: Mark Garvey
Written by: Mark Garvey
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'Twas The Devil
'Twas The Devil from Mark Garvey, is an interactive film where you decide the fate of the hero, Zachary Makepiece (Simon Cleary), and pick through the various options given to you. It's a novel idea, and much to my surprise, it all worked flawlessly, flawlessly from the choices I made, that is. Because of its decision making format, I can't really write anything but the most basic of plot synopsis because the entire premise is that each playthrough will be different. But I suspect that the main plot remains the same, so I'll write out what I can and try to not give away any major details.
The hero, Zachary, after watching his wife trialed as a witch and drowned, is taking her to dispose of her remains. No, the word "trialed" is not a spelling mistake on my part; it's the term used in the film because 'Twas The Devil is full of old speak. This old style dialog can be a mouthful, as I'm sure the cast knows, but also compliments the black and white format of the adventure. This isn't cheap black and white and looks good, complimenting the framing of the shots. I especially liked Zachary's expressions as he waits for you to make your choices. The film itself also is a little tongue in cheek, as it frequently references free will and the premise someone else is pulling the strings, separate from the onscreen characters.
As Zachary journeys, he's frequently pained with flashbacks of the death of his wife, and he has also taken a vow to not eat until his journey is done. This is a great way to explain some of his visions, and works well for the story. Along the way, he meets all kinds of characters, and I have a feeling it's the characters that change depending on your choices, but in the end, the journey is a lot of stepping and talking.
As cool a production idea as this was; eventually, it all became somewhat repetitive. Walk. Meet someone. Walk. Meet someone, maybe hear some singing, walk, rinse and repeat. But not a whole lot more to report. I can't complain about the way the pieces all fit together, but I can say that eventually, even though you are speaking to a different person; or not speaking to anyone because you chose to continue, it all eventually feels the same. What would have been really cool? If you could actually die, and have to start over, or some action scenes where you decide on where to turn, where to hide, or if you should attack.
This is the perfect example of a cool idea done well enough, but missing a few key components. The neat thing about 'Twas The Devil is its replayability, but the rinse and repeat format makes you ask yourself if you really want to. But is it worth checking out, even if it is only once? I believe it is. Mark Garvey has created a cool title, and although a little bit flawed, and not really scary in any way, it still comes recommended.