“DEVIL’S PATH” is a film by Mathew Mongomery (“Socket“, “Star Trek: Odyssey“, “Star Trek: Hidden Frontier“, “Bro, What Happened?“) about two men who meet while cruising in a park and got entangled in a big serious mess. But before I go any further, let me just say that this write-up isn’t your typical review. It’s more of a “feedback” about parts of the film that popped up, or things worth noting, be it positive or otherwise. We all have different taste and we focus on different things about everything, including movies. It’s up to you to watch it and form your own opinion.
The setting of the movie is perfect. Set around 1992 (as suggested by the “Perot for President” pamphlet in one scene) in a hiking trail called Death Pass – a popular spot for gay men looking for a no-strings-attached quickie. From the get go, I can already sense something is about to go down, in a bad way – notwithstanding the movie statement, the initial few seconds into the film really set the tone. The whole ambiance is creepy, uncomfortable and isolated, it reminded me of “The Blair Witch Project.”
The two central characters Noah (Stephen Twardokus) and Patrick (JD Scalzo) were believable as two gay men looking for some action in the woods. The dynamic between the two mirrors the dirt path on Devil’s Pass, winding, straight and rough. Noah and Patrick both tried to be civil, but it doesn’t last long. I find myself not rooting for either character, as their personalities shift between antagonist and protagonist throughout the movie. Both of them tend to be confrontational, compassionate, hostile, foolhardy, malicious and friendly. It’s a whirlwind, like a first date, but really bad. Though I felt like Patrick had the most memorable lines, like when he said early on their encounter, “truth is never judgmental.” I thought Noah was going to do something sinister when he said to Patrick, “Why fight against what can be a defining moment in your life,” but I succeeded in convincing myself it’s probably going to be sexual. We’ll get back to this topic later.
I like all the misdirection and clues … ominous and foreboding. Although there are some scenes that raised my brow that made me say things like, “aren’t you going to let the cops and mortuary handle that?” or… “you’re so chill for a dying person,” or “you’ve got to be the most annoying person to hook-up with in the history of hookups,” or “so I see, situational awareness is not one of your attributes,” or “oh, that’s smart” (sarcastic), I think the film played me well. I especially like how unpredictable this movie is. I never guessed all the twist. It’s nothing novel, but it’s well executed.
Unlike so many gay movies, where they tend to be either satire or crude, “DEVIL’S PASS” actually tells a story worth watching, call it more mainstream or serious, if you will. It’s great to watch something that is not stereotypical. And yes, there’s some action involved, Noah did manage to touch Patrick’s knee. Oh, I shouldn’t have said that. But yes, the movie delivers some “action,” it’s a hookup movie after all, but, … but… you’ll have to watch and wait for it.
So yes, watch it.
Photos courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures