Angel of Death (2008)-- Review by Nic Brown--
Jessica (Iman) is a woman on the run. She is fleeing her abusive husband and just wants to get away from it all to a remote cabin in the mountains. Unfortunately for her, soon after arriving at the cabin she is joined by a gang of bank robbers lead by a sociopathic killer named Mackenzie (Martin King). When the gang finds Jessica they believe they are in luck; they have a place to hide out and woman to victimize for their pleasure. This is the setting for writer/director Cameron Nigh’s ANGEL OF DEATH.
The gang toys with Jessica at first and it even seems that she may have gained the upper hand on them a couple of times, but ultimately they are four armed men and she is alone, afraid and to some degree used to being victimized. In fact it appears that nothing can save her, until a mysterious stranger arrives. The stranger (who is only identified as “?” in the credits) is obviously a skilled killer and he quickly gets the upper hand on the others. What ensues is Mackenzie’s attempts to regain control of the situation and extract his revenge on the stranger for interfering in his plans.
Nigh’s ANGEL OF DEATH takes a common plot device, the isolated cabin in the woods and the fugitives who need it, and makes an uncommonly interesting film with it. The first departure from the norm was Nigh’s choice of Iman to play the lead character Jessica. Iman is not a college coed beauty queen pining away for her boyfriend. She is a mature woman who comes across as a believable character caught in a bad situation. Martin King (the writer/director of ATTACK OF THE SLIME PEOPLE) is also notable for his performance as Mackenzie the ruthless killer. His character is obviously used to getting his way and doing what he wants with women so when the stranger disrupts this, it sends him over the edge.
The film does seem to falter at times when it comes to the gang and their treatment of Jessica. While very menacing and obviously distressing to Jessica, the gang at times almost seems to be waiting for something else to happen as they repeatedly delay acting against her. While this is good for Jessica, it seems to go against the grain established for Mackenzie and his partners by their quick hand at murder and violence. That said, ANGEL OF DEATH is a solid film that builds tension as the audience first wonders what will become of Jessica, and then how she and her new found savior will survive, not to mention puzzling as to what his motivations are.. So check out Cameron Nigh’s ANGEL OF DEATH and remember not to answer when strangers come knocking on the door of that remote cabin in the woods where you are staying by yourself; it never turns out to be good.