The Devil To Pay a Must-Watch, Low-Key Appalachian Thriller

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The Devil To Pay

THE DEVIL TO PAY from Lane and Ruckus Skye is a low-key thriller that is riveting from beginning to end. Set in Appalachian country, the film is populated with soft-spoken killers, simple-living country folks, and a bizarre religious cult. 

It is in this setting that we are introduced to Lemon Cassidy (Danielle Deadwyler), a farmer living on the mountain in a simple clapboard house with her son, Coy (Ezra Haslam). Her husband has been away on a chore, and it is shortly into the film we learn what that was and who it was for: he had taken a favor from Tommy Runion (Catherine Dyer), a charming sweet-talking lady who is nonetheless ruthless. The price for his favor was to steal a gold watch from the Knox family and bring it to her, a revenge-payment for the Knox family having commited a (to most folks) seemingly trivial trespass against the Runions.

That's the catalyst for everything that happens: a tree and a watch, both important to two families whose legendary feud has been in a truce for years. The Runions don't want to be overt in their dealings and start a war, so they had Cassidy to the work for them. But that's merely a ruse. When Cassidy doesn't make it back, Lemon is forced to finish his quest, with the life of her son hanging in the balance. And when she's told her husband took the wrong watch, she discovers there's far more at play here -- and she's been selected as the pawn in a game of dominance.

The viewer is transported to a world that has its own rules of governance, it's own way of life, that does not require -- and indeed disdains -- outsider interference. As Lemon makes her way along the mountain to key positions, she learns more about her role, and has to make a crucial decision: be a pawn, or take charge of the game.

Accompanied by a delicate bluegrass soundtrack, THE DEVIL TO PAY is not overtly loud or gory. That does not detract in any way from the action or tension, it merely makes it sneaky, as you realize almost too late that you have been sucked into the plot and can't escape it. Deadwyler pulls off the role of Cassidy with complete character immersion. In fact, nobody in this film is wasted, nor unbelievable -- even the brainwashed cult members do their part to carry the film to its successful conclusion. Jayson Warner Smith, Adam Boyer, Brad Carter and Charles Black all contribute to making THE DEVIL TO PAY something you should put on your must-watch list.

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0