A Kung Fu master becomes a Jesuit priest ordained as an exorcist fighting demons in the streets, demons in the souls of the possessed, and wrestling with his own. Inspired by Historical Events.
A former martial artist and underground fight clubber, old habits die hard for Father Michael (Mike) Martinez (John Ozuna), it seems. A priest by day, an underground fight club fighter, and city streets vigilante by night. Father Mike knows all too well the unknown evil that lurks in the world and in people, as we see in flashbacks to his childhood via his nightmares. When a stranger Hank Jefferson (Robert Crow), stops him asking for help for a friend and his family Father Mike reluctantly agrees. Now, Father Mike must prepare for a fight not only for their souls but for his own as well.
Written and directed by David J. Espinosa, his overall tone and direction here remind me of reading a Stephen King book. I always found the beginnings of his books a bit slow, but he keeps you engrossed enough not to shut the book, and by the end, boy, are you glad you didn’t. That is how I felt with Demon Fighter. Espinosa starts out a bit slow but keeps you enticed, rewarding you in the end. This is also thanks to the cast, who delivered impressive performances. Jeff Hatch (Nicolas Stark) and Jeanne Young (Vivian Stark) are powerful in their 180-degree performances. My breakout star, though, is Jeffery Battaion (Anthony Stark). When they are all praying in the end, and Battaion gets on his knees… oh boy! It wasn’t the line that struck me but how he delivered it. I felt it. I connected with it. I’ve watched many horror exorcism films but never not emotional over one. That is due to Espinosa, Ahrens (producer), and the cast.
Kudos also to the makeup crew of Dan Acosta and Robert Vargas. For being an indie film, I was impressed by their work and how they transformed beautiful Jeanne Young evil looking, though Hatch looked a bit like a purple spotted leopard on his body. I went with it, though. I got it; he was possessed.
The best BEST moment had to be when the neighbor friend(The brilliant NJ Brown) came in mid-exorcism asking if anyone wanted a burrito. I nearly fell out of my seat!
Demon Fighter’s only downside is I wish Espinosa had the chance to expand the story more and delve deeper into the characters. As with indie and any film, there are always time and budget constraints. Demon Fighter showed that a bit. With a bigger budget and time, Demon Fighter could be more intense than it already was. Still, it’s another good one under Ahrens and Espinosa’s belts.
My Rating 8/10