Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Wanderers: The Quest Of The Demon Hunter (2017)

Like many others in the film industry, actor Armand Assante has now begun to star in a lot of films made in non-American locations that can, shall we say, get some better production value for the low budgets, and pad out a cheap supporting cast around one or two bigger names. That can lead to something as painfully awful as Diamond Cartel (a film so badly overdubbed that they even somehow made the late, great Peter O'Toole sound like Dick Van Dyke in his famous accent-mangling Mary Poppins role). But it can also lead to something as fun as this, a noisy mess of a film that succeeds because of an admirable attempt to mix some interesting ideas in with a succession of entertainingly silly sequences.

Assante plays Louis, a legendary demon hunter who is hired by Robert (Lior Ashkenazi) to investigate a notorious haunted house in Transylvania. Tha haunting part isn't all that hard to deal with, but a local evil spirit, Mara (Oana Marcu), proves to be a tougher challenge.

The first thing to note about this film is that when I say Assante is playing a legendary demon hunter I should specify that he is playing the role as if he was channelling Matthew McConaughey channelling mid-90s Pacino while giving his best impression of the character played by James Woods in Vampires. Sometimes that makes his lines of dialogue almost unintelligible, true, but it also pretty much guarantees that viewers will have fun every time he's onscreen.

The rest of the cast can't, and don't, come close to him but they all join in with the fun. Ashkenazi, Raluca Aprodu, Bae Jung-hwa, and Ho Jae Sun are part of the main group, Brank Djuric has a habit of popping up at just the right time, to amusing effect, and Marcu is genuinely superb as the main nemesis of Louis.

Director Dragos Buliga could have trimmed things here and there, removing some of the fat from the script by Octav Gheorghe, but the padding is understandable when you continually get the feeling that everyone involved was simply having a LOT of fun. Fun with the characters, fun with the ideas that were being explored, and fun just making a film that, for better or worse, is nothing like the majority of other supernatural fantasy movies you could end up watching.

Will most people enjoy this as much as I did? I'm not sure, although I doubt it. It has a certain cheesiness that forces you to choose, almost from the first scenes, whether or not you want to give it your time. I went along with it all, and am glad I did. I'm not sure that I would rush to rewatch it, but I'm damn sure that I would invest more time in a sequel.


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