Relying more on simmering menace than gruesome violence, writer-director Sean Hogan’s hybrid micro-budget movie, ‘The Devil’s Business’, like Ben Wheatley’s 2011 film ‘Kill List’, confidently slides from a routine gangland hit into more disturbing supernatural territory. It likewise relies heavily on salty dialogue and intense performances, although the tone here is more theatrical than naturalistic.
As seasoned hitman Pinner (Billy Clarke) and his ambitious young sidekick Cully (Jack Gordon) wait at the mark’s house, the older man distracts his nervous partner with a spooky tale about their old-school gangster boss, Bruno (Harry Miller), and a beautiful exotic dancer called Valentina. Their urbane victim, Kist (Jonathan Hansler), returns unexpectedly early from the opera, but the job is soon done. That’s until they find evidence of Satanic worship and sacrificial rites, and realise they may have stumbled upon something more sinister and dangerous. Like Hogan’s previous feature, ‘Isle of Dogs’, this financially compromised chamber piece shows he writes better than he directs; but it mostly leaves one wondering what he might achieve if someone gave him a proper budget.