Today on Adventures in Netflix! I’ll be reviewing the 2009 indie movie Lo.
Lo is strange, Lo is unusual, and Lo is absurd. Lo is the kind of movie you either love or hate; think is creativity at its best, or boring garbage; are riveted to, or bored by. I happen to have loved the movie, but then I have an odd imagination myself.
Lo is about Justin (Ward Roberts), a normal enough guy whose less than normal girlfriend, April (Sarah Lassez) has been kidnapped by a demon. So what does Justin do? He uses a magic book to summon another demon, Lo (Jeremiah Birkett), to help him find her. Lo, however, proves to be less than helpful, and instead of bringing his girlfriend back he tries to convince Justin to forget about her abandon his search.
One of the things that makes Lo so odd as a movie is that the whole thing is basically just a series of conversations between Justin and various demons (with the noted exception being a bizarre musical number involving some kind of Nazi demon fish-man thing crooning along to a band of zombies), all of which take place in the same dark room, with Justin sitting in the middle of a magic circle the whole time. If this sounds boring to you, chances are Lo probable isn’t the movie for you, but if the idea of a guy sitting alone in the dark trying to convince a lazy demon to do what he wants (and occasionally talking to his hand) sounds intriguing, keep reading.
The dialogue in Lo is great, and it has to be; there are no flashy action scenes to fall back on, no beautiful scenery to be distracted by, no anything. If the conversations weren’t interesting and the characters well written there would be nothing else to make up for it, as is the case with some movies. Justin’s journey is one of personal realizations and spiritual discoveries, not physical trials or geographical barriers, as he fights to maintain his sanity while dealing with the uncooperative Lo. If the talking wasn’t interesting, the whole movie would fall apart in a second.
Likewise the acting has to be good as well, and it is, in its own zany way. Ward Roberts does a fine job of making Justin feel believable, like he really is just some ordinary guy who happens to end up in a not so ordinary situation and does his best to cope. Jeremiah Birkett and Devin Barry (who plays a demon named Jeez) play their demons as bored psychopaths who enjoy messing with Justin’s head and not much else. They’re suitably foul mouthed to, enough to make it clear that they’re a nasty, pitiless lot, but not so much so as to become overly unpleasant (providing you don’t mind a little foul language here and there for flavor).
The make up/creature effects were also quite good. All of the demons looked unique and interesting, and in the case of Lo genuinely frightening at times. I’m a bit of a sucker for good practical effects, be it make up, miniatures, or what have you, and I wish more movies, not just low budget indie films, would use them a bit more instead of just making everything CG whether it needs to be or not.
If you like odd, minimalistic movies and don’t mind watching 80 minutes of near constant talking you, like me, might enjoy Lo.