One day while working out in the fields a plowboy accidentally unearths skeletal remains of some form of creature he cannot explain. When returning with the town judge to investigate the discovery they find no trace of these remains. The 17th century farming community thinks nothing of the plowboy's claims but soon after a cult of teenage devil-worshippers emerge, led by temptress Angel, intent on performing human sacrifices in an effort to bring the skeletal demon back to life. Piers Haggard's The Blood of Satan's Claw is a moody, atmospheric horror film that is really a textbook example of how less tends to be more in horror films. Throughout The Blood of Satan's Claw we see depictions of many gruesome sequences of violence yet most of the gore and bloodshed are never shown on screen. Haggard uses fantastic sound design to create the tension and horror of the situation and in doing so lets the viewers imagination do the rest. This decision pays off in spades throughout the film creating an atmospheric tension that is far more effective than gore porn. A superbly directed film, The Blood of Satan's Claw is shot in this pseudo-voyeuristic way aiding in putting the viewer into the world of these characters, who begin to question who can be trusted and who already has 'the mark of the beast". My only real complaint with the film is that the plot becomes a little too dense for my liking, with many characters and narrative threads that really never felt necessary. In the end, The Blood of Satan's Claw is an entertaining, creepy and effective horror thriller that is part demonic possession, part witch hunt.
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