Chris von Hoffman’s “Devil’s Workshop” is a horror drama about an actor, Clayton, who decides to visit a demonologist to prepare for a potential job. Clayton had been in the industry for fifteen years, and he was still struggling to find work. He had recently been cast in a television series, but his role did not make it into the edit. He auditioned for the role of a demonologist, but the moment he saw Donald in the queue outside the room, he knew that Donald would get the role. At a young age, Donald had been in a popular television commercial, and he was known for it. He had connections in the industry, and he used them to climb the ladder. “Devil’s Workshop” takes a dig at the film industry and the many pompous members of it who thrive on connection alone.
‘Devil’s Workshop’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Clayton’s days are mostly spent auditioning for roles, spending time alone in his house, taking acting classes at the theater, and secretly hating Donald for having it all. The acting class teacher tries to coax Donald to set him up with a meeting with his casting agent. Donald’s insults were even considered a lesson by the teacher, showing how influential he was. Clayton watched Donald from afar. He envied the life Donald was living. As he was sulking over his sad life, he received a call from his agent. He was informed that he was called for a second round of auditions to play the role of a demonologist. Clayton knew he had to be the best to get the role, so he decided to contact a professional demonologist and learn about their profession. He advertised his interest on the internet, and the next morning he received a call from Eliza, a demonologist. She invited Clayton to her country house to discuss business.
Even though it did seem strange that Eliza lived alone on the enormous property, Clayton decided to give it a shot. Eliza was in control of the entire situation. She even tried to add spells to the tea that she prepared for him. Eliza questioned him about his family and career. Clayton realized that she was the one asking questions instead of him studying her method. Eliza believed that he was troubled by demonic spirits, and that was what kept him away from success. She could sense that he had lost his mother, and he blamed himself for the car crash. Eliza wanted to purify his soul, and they agreed to do it the next night. Clayton savored the home-cooked meal Eliza had made for him. A part of him did not wish to believe in the power of purification, but he also saw a glimmer of hope in it. He was desperate to land the role, and maybe the opportunity to see a demonologist at work made it exciting for him. The only problem was, Clayton was all alone, living with a woman who had taken away his phone, calling it evil. He would be unable to call for help if anything happened to him. Eliza was a tough character to comprehend. She had an evil motive, but he did not know what it was till the very end.
Why Did Clayton Try To Escape From Eliza’s House?
Clayton had to stay the night for the purification the next night. At night, he noticed that the adjoining room suddenly lit up. He entered the room and found a television buzzing. He looked around and found a videotape. After inserting it, he realized that Eliza used to be a television show host. The show was about a man who lived in upstate New York and was visited by a stranger. The mystery was whether or not the stranger was a human being. After watching the introductory video, Clayton was disturbed by noise from the outside of the room. He left the room and tiptoed to Eliza’s room and found her seated on her bed without any clothes on. Her back had an injury of sorts, almost as if a leech was stuck to her body. When Clayton confronted Eliza about the videotape, she confirmed that it was the first-ever female-led reality show that she was a part of. But sadly, due to negative reviews, the show was canceled.
Eliza prepared Clayton for the purification/exorcism ritual. He was washed, and spells were chanted. Eliza said words of affirmation, and Clayton repeated them. The purification was an amalgamation of mystic rituals, therapy, and confession. He confessed that he regretted insulting his mother, and he blamed himself for crashing the car that led to her death. After completing the initial preparations, it was time for blood magic to lure the demon. Eliza asked him to kill a captured goat, thinking of all that he hated and regretted. Clayton poured all his aggression and rage into killing the animal. His body was now covered in blood as Eliza prepared to call the demons. Eliza warned Clayton that he must not leave in the middle of the process because they could not let the spirit leave the house without destroying it as it could create havoc. As Eliza proceeded and called the spirits living in Clayton’s body, there was no response. Clayton opened his eyes and saw Eliza with a knife, ready to stab him. He ran away, cursing her intent, saying that it was all a ploy to murder him. Eliza tried to justify herself by saying that it was part of the ancient ritual. She was only trying to intimidate the evil spirits to lure them out. As Clayton prepared to leave the house, Eliza sang the song his mother always sang to him as a desperate measure to hold him back.
‘Devil’s Workshop’ Ending Explained: Who Was Eliza? What Was Eliza’s Intention With Clayton?
Clayton decided to stay back after listening to the song. Eliza knew how much Clayton valued the memories of his mother, and she used them against him. She served him the magical tea once again, and this time, Clayton did not spill it and consumed it entirely. Eliza tried to convince him of how uninteresting his old life was, and now that he was about to change it completely, there was no point in returning to it. She gradually discussed that she felt passionate about death, and even though she wanted to die, she did not wish for it to be a simple suicide. She started to question Clayton’s need for validation as an actor. The moment he replied that he wanted to prove himself to his mother, Eliza used her power, and Clayton could hear his mother’s voice. Clayton felt that he was losing his mind and tried to escape, but the doors and windows were protected by a demonic spell. Clayton tried to choke Eliza to death, but he suddenly felt her face turn into his mother’s face. He stopped himself and followed his mother. She took him to the purification room and tied him up. He yearned for the love and affection of his mother, and now that he could see her, he did what she asked him to without protest. But soon, he realized that it was all a game designed by Eliza. Eliza explained that she always wanted to be a mother to a son, and when she saw Clayton, she knew she could fulfill that desire. She bathed him in blood and chanted spells. She had paralyzed him with the tea and placed him on her bed. She wanted to be his mother and take care of him. Eliza poured diesel on him, and Clayton knew it meant more trouble. He tried to crawl away but was soon caught up by Eliza. She ripped apart the skin on her face and revealed the demon of sexual desire, Galvino. The demon stepped on Eliza’s body and consummated with him. The demon burned itself and Clayton along with it. The next morning, Donald attends the audition, and even though his performance was terrible, the casting team presumably had to select him because Clayton never came to audition. The casting team even discussed how they thought he was a promising candidate.
“Devil’s workshop,” in a way, pokes at Clayton, who went to the extent of visiting a demonologist for his role, only never to reappear again. He lived a true experience but did not get the opportunity to ever show it to an audience. Maybe as Eliza said, his performance must only be for him, and that was what ended up happening. Meanwhile, Donald, whose preparation was a joke, would probably be playing the role. He was lucky, as Clayton once described. The premise of the film was close to that of the reality show, considering we were following an innocent man who knocked on a door, and it was our job to figure out if the person who opened the door was a demon, a UFO, or any other strange creature. Eliza was possessed by Galvino, the demon of desire. We can assume that Galvino denotes repressed intimate desires, and when Eliza met Clayton, she was taken over by the demon. Galvino had a hold on them because of the perverse way in which Clayton, as a little boy, looked at his mother, and the way in which Eliza sexually fantasized about the son she wanted to have. She had discussed how she was excited by the idea of death, but she did not wish for a simple suicide; she wanted it to be more. The pleasure of consummation and the pain experienced in death altogether led to a euphoric experience for the demon in the end. The film is layered with dark humor; it refuses to be strictly horror. It jokes about the usual horror tropes and does not restrict itself, though the CGI fire, in the end, was rather hilarious.
“Devil’s Workshop” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Chris von Hoffman.