But in the sarcastic “Lo,” Justin (Ward Roberts) does the next best thing, creating a pentagram and summoning the title demon with the idea of getting back his beloved April (Sarah Lassez), who apparently has been abducted by demons and dragged to Hell.
The film is a distant cousin to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (the TV series more than the original film), with its rampant cynicism and cute banter between demon and human.
Once he summons the demon, the film becomes a bizarre cat-and-mouse game. But who is the feline, and who the rodent?
Lo states right off that you can never trust a demon, that they’ll lie to you, and Justin understands this all too well. He also knows that since he conjured the demon, he commands it. But he also knows if he leaves the tiny pentagram he made on the floor, the demon will devour him. Justin’s problem is the demon is better at weaseling out of responsibility than my kids.
Writer/director Travis Betz was wise to focus on dialog and makeup effects. Both are terrific, and setting the majority of the narrative in one small, claustrophobic location amps up the tension in the game between human and monster.
And for a low-budget production, Lo’s makeup especially is terrific. He’s a translucent monster with no legs, and played convincingly by Jeremah Burkitt. He’s conniving, and makes no bones about his thoughts of Justin and looks down his nose on humanity in general.
Betz also makes good use of flashback, presenting Justin’s memories as small two-person stage plays. Lo manages to creep into his mind, though, and play havoc with his memories with sometimes-raucous results.
Taking it a step further (and perhaps in the wrong direction) is adding a second demon, who tells his story through Vegas-lounge-act song numbers that are inconsistently funny and effective.
But overall, “Lo” is a fun take on the horror genre (though with so much talking it’s not particularly scary), ably mixing in comedy and tension for an enjoyable movie experience.
Rating: 3 1/2 Yaps out of 5