For many of us, becoming a mother is a dream that’s coming true. From the moment you hold your newborn in your arms, you swear that you will do everything in your power to protect them. So does Lemon Cassidy, a woman/wife/mother living near the Appalachian Mountains. However, for Cassidy, there’s so much more on the line than just protecting her son. Do you want to know what? Then discover her heartfelt and brutal story in The Devil To Pay (also called The Reckoning in some countries). This first full-length film by writers/directors Lane Skye and Ruckus Skye – which is a must-see!
The things a mother would do to protect her family
From the start, it becomes clear that life is tough for Lemon Cassidy (Danielle Deadwyler) and Coy (Ezra Haslam). They don’t have a lot of money and can barely make ends meet. When Cassidy’s husband disappears without a trace, life becomes even more challenging. However, the mother and son still have each other, and their strong bond ensures that they can stay positive. Sadly, that positivity fades away when two intimidating men arrive at her door. Cassidy fears the worst regarding her husband’s whereabouts. As if it can’t get any worse, she’s being summoned by the Runion family matriarch, Tommy Runion (Catherine Dyer), who runs the small Appalachian community. Tommy protects the people and gives them a certain amount of power in exchange for money.
When meeting Tommy, Cassidy finds out that her husband has a debt and that she and her son might have to pay for that with their lives. The only thing that can keep Cassidy and her son alive is finding her husband, some money or, in the best-case scenario, both. Cassidy faces a problematic search, but as a headstrong and determined woman, she sets sail to find the solution. However, where will the Appalachian roads lead her, and will she find the answers and means she’s looking for?
An incredibly well-executed, stirring and violent film!
After working together during short films The 7 Sevens and Hungry for Love, the husband-wife team now deliver their debut feature. The step from a short film to a full-length one is probably a big one that comes with a big bag of nerves, anxiety and insecurity. However, the couple kept everything under control and successfully turned the violent, emotional and gripping story of a mother protecting her child into the stunning The Devil To Pay.
What makes this movie so riveting are the astonishing acting performances from Deadwyler and Dyer. While Dyer (The Founder, Taken 3) puts on a spellbinding and intriguing display that will leave you breathless, it’s Deadwyler (The Harder They Fall, Gifted) who’s the brightest star of this movie. Her performance is fierce, violent and passionate but also vulnerable, sweet and sympathetic at the same time. Thanks to her highly diverse acting, the gun-wielding mother comes to life spectacularly. While the movie is a bit too brutal at times, the magnificent cast makes sure that it’s never over the top. It’s hard to look away from the screen, even during the most horrible scenes.
What adds even more emotions are the exquisite cinematography and the elegant bluegrass soundtrack by Brad Carter (One Last Score). The country-folk music creates the tension, the tiny happy moments, the nervosity and roughness of the characters perfectly. The diverse emotions and the darkness of the story are heightened even more thanks to gorgeous wide nature shots, poignant close-ups and explosive action scenes from cinematographer Sherman Johnson (Tio Papi, The Other Side)
Don’t let The Devil to Pay pass you by!
The Devil To Pay clocks in at just under 90 minutes. With a relatively short movie like this, it’s always intriguing to see how they create a coherent film in which nothing is left out or rushed. It’s a pleasure to say that the creative and passionate cast and crew of The Devil To Pay made sure that the storylines came together pleasingly. If you add the thrilling and dangerous journey of a mother, the impressive lead performance by Deadwyler and the fascinating fitting score and cinematography to that, then you know that The Devil To Pay is a movie you should watch!
The Devil To Pay is now available on Digital Platforms
Rating: (4 / 5)
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