- Created by Daria Polatin
- Based on Daria Polatin’s book of the same name
- September 2, 2022
- Dr. Suzanne Mathis-Emily Deschanel
- Peter Mathis-Sam Jaeger
- Detective Lopez-Gerardo Celasco
- Mae-Madeleine Arthur
- Jules Mathis-Xaria Dotson
- Helen Mathis-Alisha Newton
- Dani Mathis-Naomi Tan
- Adele Thornton-Marci T. House
- Sheriff Wilkins-Bradley Stryker
- Isaac Kimura-Jason Sakaki
- Sebastian Zelle-Evan Ellison
- Teddy Harrington-Ty Wood
- Tatiana Nelson-Djouliet Amara
- Malachi-Tahmoh Penikett
- Gina Brooks-Eva Bourne
- Noah-Keenan Tracey
- Rhoda Morrison-Samantha Ferris
When a teenager shows up in an Ohio hospital, the facility’s psychiatrist offers to put the girl up in her home while looking for a suitable foster family but soon the girl’s presence causes upheaval in the family.
I heard about Devil in Ohio a while back but held off. With Halloween approaching I decided to take a look at something that appeared creepy. While not mind-blowing it was not serious a disappointment.
Given that the story involves a Satanic cult you would expect black magic to be real in the narrative and Old Scratch himself to make an appearance. Interestingly it’s just a religious cult and magic is not a real thing. That doesn’t mean that some of the characters don’t believe in it, but nobody casts a spell and it actually happens. Much of the strangeness that occurs is either brought about by people or just mere coincidence.
With all the twists and turns that occur as well as misdirection they create a very intriguing if not overly drawn out story. You do come to understand why the central character of Suzanne (Emily Deschanel), a hospital psychiatrist, is the way she is and you can buy how the cult moving much of the story along came to control an entire county in Ohio as well as keep themselves in power for as long as they did though how nobody became suspicious of a county and town named after an Irish demon I do not know.
There is an implied grander conspiracy beyond the cult’s control of the county. I say implied but not proven given the events in the series but how the story wraps up you know it’s real. This cult has kept control of their little portion of the world through fear and intimidation and bribery.
Events are kicked off when a young girl named Mae (Madeleine Arthur) escapes and finds herself in Suzanne’s hospital. Mae starts off appearing as a victim but as the series goes on Mae develops a sinister undercurrent and by the end of the show she’s not as sweet and kind as she appears. She enters the lives of the Mathis family and becomes a disruptive and corrosive force and by the end is just as bad as the cult she left. The last three to five minutes were a good cap on it all.
One thing this show gets right is that it casually drops in elements only to reveal their importance later. For example the first appearance of Malachi (Tahmoh Penikett), the leader of the cult and Mae’s father, just comes and goes.
My issue with this though is that there is too much here. It’s eight episodes at 45 minutes or so a pop. Sometimes that can be to the benefit of a show and allow them to have a very meaty story. Here there is just a lot of extra that doesn’t ultimately contribute to the narrative.
Why did we need to know about the detective having a custody agreement with his ex-fiancé over a dog? How did that help the story? How did the oldest daughter’s romantic triangle have any effect on things? Admittedly her ex-boyfriend’s truck was used in the finale but anybody’s truck could’ve been involved.
Cutting out some of the extraneous stuff as well as making this into either fewer episodes or a long movie would’ve helped things greatly. There’s plenty of entertaining stuff here. The thing is it gets drowned out by unnecessary.
Devil in Ohio just never rises to a level of exciting or frightening or tense. And that’s because it’s probably six hours too long give or take. There’s just too much here. I understand the author most likely want to transcribe the entirety of their book to the screen but someone should’ve told them “No.” What makes for an engaging read that you can’t put down and you stick with to the end does not necessarily lead into an engaging filmed narrative. Judicious editing is needed.
Be true to the story but excise certain elements in order to keep an appropriate speed. It took far too long to get to any real excitement and the mystery took a little too long to be dropped in and revealed.
Devil in Ohio is not bad but it is not great. If the middle section of the film had been as well done as the opening and closing then this would’ve been a must see. As it is it is not disappointing but it’s not something worth seeking out. You can probably pass on this one.