3.5 out of 10

Release date: 30th June 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Paul Tanter (He Who Dares 2 / White Collar Hooligan 3 / The Hooligan Wars / He Who Dares / Essex Boys Retribution / White Collar Hooligan 2 / Fall of the Essex Boys / Rise of the White Collar Hooligan / Jack Falls)

Cast: Simon Phillips, Juliette Bennett, Will DeMeo, Kellie Shirley, Jack Murray, Peter Woodward, Bradford West, Lucy Clements, Martin Fisher, Leo Goodman with Peter Barrett and Doug Bradley 

Writer: Paul Tanter


UnknownTo Be Proofread: According to, Shame The Devil’s original title was to be Jack Rises.  Thank god the makers had a change of heart and decided against adding a fourth instalment to their rancid ‘Jack’ trilogy (Jack Says / Jack Said / Jack Falls).  There’s very little else going for this British Saw rip-off that only serves to prove how good that series was. We were spoilt and we didn’t know it. Anyway, less about it’s inspiration and more about Shame The Devil itself, a Paul Tanter film that seems to have been lurking around for ages whilst more predictable hooligan-bait / Essex Boys got released.  (Curiously, the DVD cover credits this Shame The Devil as a Greg Hall (director of DANGEROUS MIND OF A HOOLIGAN) movie – but yet there’s no trace of him in the credits in the film or on the back cover? What went on there I wonder!?)

Again, Simon Phillips (STAGGER) miscasts himself as a grizzled London cop who is being targeted by a truth obsessed killer who is systematically killing his friends and acquaintances by method of a Q+A, a lie detector and a killing trap (a gun / a faulty pacemaker / an electric dog collar).  His mission takes him to NYC, USA where he hooks up with an old girlfriend (JULIETTE BENNETT) and serial killer profiler. Only thing is, the killer has followed him to America. Red herrings abound and despite the deep shit that Phillip’s cop James finds himself in he’s still got time to take in posh restaurants, wise crack and have Fisher Price level debates about religion and faith.

Shame The Devil‘s saving graces are in some of the performances. Down the cast-list are players that really should be getting better jobs as they easily outshine the terrible leads – we have Tanter/Phillips regular Peter Barrett (FALL OF THE ESSEX BOYS), Edward Woodward’s son Peter (THE LAST SCOUT) and Martin Fisher (VENDETTA). All of whom elevate the movie somewhat. Sadly, this another trumped up, ego trip for Mr Phillips who is a limited actor at best. He is great at comedy and is great at the sarcastic put down. In dramatic roles though he lacks the heft, menace, or conviction. No way can he play a grizzled cop or a criminal mastermind (see (or actually, please don’t see) HE WHO DARES) so the whole exercise collapses into a heap. The films plot is tighter than we’ve been lead to expect from previous Tanter/Phillips films but it’s still a pale rip-off of a successful American horror franchise – which was far from perfect itself but way better than this. The killer’s motives are are ludicrous and too far fetched even for this lunacy. And just who was Victor (DOUG BRADLEY – HELL RAISER) – did I miss something, or did it get axed in the edit?

3.5 out of 10 – Nearly watchable and better than most of Paul Tanter / Simon Phillips quickies. It’s more annoying than entertaining, but its worth watching for some good supporting turns. It just amounts to another lame ego-trip for it’s duff actor/producer. Lame The Devil.

Now read Matt ‘Plot Spoiler’ Usher’s hilarious review down below where he does tell the truth! Oh Yes!



One thought on “SHAME THE DEVIL

  1. SHAME THE DEVIL review by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher

    ‘Tell the truth and shame the devil’ goes the old saying (which only the villain in this film is familiar with) and so I shall. SHAME THE DEVIL, rather unexpectedly, turns out to be an almost competent piece of film-making from the team which behind such fescennine codswallop as JACK SAYS and HE WHO DARES. Be under no illusion: this film is desperately derivative, dimmer than a Liberal Democrat, and about as exciting as lettuce. But at least characters are consistent (mostly), scenes lead into each other in a logical sequence, night follows day, and the plot makes internal sense (despite stretching credibility beyond the point of no return and proving that no-one bothered researching how lie detectors work or how long it takes to get from London to New York).

    And I must make this public service announcement: this is NOT a horror film, despite claiming to be the UK’s answer to SAW. It is, in fact, an old-fashioned police thriller, not a million miles from those films they used to put on BBC1 on Saturday nights with Jeff Fahey or Sam Elliott.

    We open with Peter Barrett in a spot of bother. He finds himself in a supermarket (God knows why they chose a supermarket), strapped to a chair and linked to (a) a lie detector and (b) a gun aimed at his head. An electronically distorted voice informs him that he has to tell the truth (thus shaming the devil) or else the lie detector will detect his ignoble lie and trigger the gun! Meanwhile his wife is chained up next to the Heineken. Despite the handcuffs she manages to wriggle free, but not until Barrett has failed the test. Horror fans may as well switch off at this point. This shameless cribbing from the SAW films (which themselves were just a gory version of TV game show The Crystal Maze) is the height of its ambition.

    And then Simon Phillips turns up and it all careers downhill faster than a snowball on a toboggan. This week Our Si is playing a hard-bitten, grizzled, seen-it-all-before detective. Or at least I think that’s the plan, it’s very difficult to tell with him. He’s the kind of copper for whom finding a victim whose head has been splattered against miscellaneous groceries is just one of life’s distractions. But what is Our Si’s main interest? Why, it is his young wife and their Unborn Child. Yes! Not for the first time in a Simon Phillips film a pregnant woman will face peril (sixth time by my count). To alleviate this peril Our Si sends Pregnant Wife round to see off-screen character Rita, which I thought was the nearest Rita Ramnani got to this film, but she and Nick Nevern are in a New York based café scene. (The company must have been in New York filming a job lot of scenes for use in their various Hooligan films; it’s all quite sweet really). But why does Pregnant Wife depend on Rita (especially as Rita’s in NYC with Nick and the gang)? Where are the police? Well, Our Si has been taken off the case (I told you it was derivative) so the police aren’t going to try to protect the serial killer’s obvious targets.

    But why is anyone in New York? Having failed to frame the supermarket security guard, Our Si goes with Pregnant Wife to see a doctor – it’s something to do with ‘the Unborn Child’. And what do you know, the Vocally Distorted Villain has already got to the Doomed Doctor, who has to tell the truth or his pacemaker will explode! So the Doomed Doctor injects himself with a truth serum! We see him do this. Five minutes later a flashback reminds us that he did this. There are a lot of these flashbacks, presumably to bump up the running time. But the Doomed Doctor dies anyway. So Our Si goes to see a priest. But what do you know, just as Our Si gets there, the priest gets zapped by the Lie Detector Killer too! Our Si still hasn’t worked out that the killer’s after him, so enter Britpic semi-regular Kellie Shirley to tell him that (a) it’s all about him, and (b) he’s off the case. And that’s why he goes to New York. For a holiday (or maybe the film-makers found out there were tax perks if you film there). Because His Ex lives there and she’s the only criminal profiler in the whole wide world. She’s good at what she does apparently, despite having an unhinged brother. So Our Si goes off to New York, meets His Ex and they set about trying to find out what the killer is like. But the killer has followed Our Si to New York and killed his taxi driver for overcharging!

    Our Si and His Ex have a theological debate. Now, I’m in favour of interesting discussions on the nature of belief and our codes of conduct. But there are none here. Curiously, even though it is made abundantly clear that the killer is a religious nutter (or is he?) Our Si just seems to be irritated by some of the stuff in the Bible. He highlights the Bible’s disapproval of eating shellfish and Sunday trading. Annoyingly he doesn’t mention the bit where it tells us that we should pierce our slaves’ ears with awls so we know which ones belong to us, but never mind.

    Meanwhile the London investigation grinds to a halt, so Our Si’s young Protégé pops over to New York. They have now both managed to do this without being noticed by their boss, which suggests either (a) the police have very poor powers of observation these days or (b) SHAME THE DEVIL exists in a parallel universe where travel between those two great cities takes about twenty minutes. Once in New York The Protégé solves the case. Which means he gets it spectacularly wrong. And the New York police may have one or two questions about everything, but they never get to ask them. And we’re running out of suspects! How will it all end? You’ll just have to watch it to find out. (Please don’t. This is not exactly a stellar epic, though there is quite a good development at the conclusion, one which should ensure there’s no sequel).

    Despite being Paul Tanter’s least worst film (as far as I know), there’s still plenty to mock. It’s full of clunky dialogue (‘So what do I owe the pleasure of hearing from you for the first time in seven years?’). It has a religious character called Mary. Our Si and Pregnant Wife live in a flat so plush it suggests he’s the bentest copper to walk the earth. And Our Si uses the phrase ‘our unborn child’ almost as often as he says f*** (which is a lot). The actors vary from good (Peter Woodward as the Doomed Doctor) to awful (Our Si miscasting himself as ever). But mostly they go through the motions – few CVs are enhanced here. However, Tanter has finally managed to make a film that looks like a real film (though the credit for that goes to the cinematographer) (mind you, the post-shooting scenes in the supermarket still look like an amateur production). Alas, Tanter still doesn’t trust his story (not surprisingly) and insists on silly edits, slow motion, and flashbacks in black and white. So SAW fans can happily steer clear of a film which (a) is a SAW rip-off but is also (b) not a SAW rip-off. Fans of good films can also live without this. And so can fans of bad movies, as it’s not that bad, it’s sort of average bad, or badly average. Maybe it’s the start of Paul Tanter’s Beige Period?

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