Baphomet starts out promisingly enough, a no context pre-title open in which a very angry looking European man screams about satan and blood sacrifices before the title appears promises some fun trashy black magic inspired mayhem. Unfortunately, the rest of the film is a little less enjoyable than that cold open.
Following the Richardson family, we discover that a scary cult wants their property and places a curse on them in order to get it. Writer-director-star Matthan Harris actually doesn’t hang about before making sure we know it’s a curse caused by a cult of bad people, and even offers up a little shark based gore to keep us going before the proverbial hits the fan.
Colin Ward and Ivy Opdyke do their very best with their one note roles as Harris’ in-laws Jacob and Elena. Ward has the look and manner of Ron Perlman -type, a stern patriarch who is unprepared for the upcoming mystical horror, while Opdyke does the very best she can when immediately jumping to the conclusion that it’s a curse – a leap she appears to have made from nowhere.
Rebecca Weaver as their daughter, and Harris’ wife, Rebecca, is probably the most solid, offering multitudes beneath the so-so dialogue and fairly stilted drama around her. She’s able to imbue Rebecca with a little more humanity than would normally be given thanks to the writing and at times you wonder what she might do with stronger material.
The film is often let down by pretty poor writing, and a small role from Dani Filth, who appears to be unsure if he can remember his lines at any given moment. The film is also wildly uneven, offering campy satanic panic fun and slow building dread about a family haunted by a cult that seek to destroy them. A lot of the elements in this film are fairly well worn and yet there’s no sense of fun or a meta-knowledge that these are cliches that might help the film stand out.
Even so there is a commitment to getting to the point and at seventy-two minutes this barely crests the guidelines for a feature. This might suit a horror festival circuit better than it will mainstream audiences, for people who enjoy low budget but enthusiastic horror steeped in the cliches of movies from the past.
For everyone else it might just feel like a film that they’ve seen before and often acted a lot better, but there’s enough promise that even the most critical might find something to enjoy in the bizarre and lean machinations of the plot.
Baphomet is available on VOD June 8.