Jump to the present day and we meet Lou (the man from the voiceover) and his son Duffy (real life father and son Michael and Christian Madsen). This is obviously a strained relationship, but the presence of Lou’s grandson, Louie (Frank Peluso III) is bringing the family closer together, until Lou is murdered by a culty kind of group who we just know are connected to Moloch. Lou’s three estranged sons, Duffy, Gus (Ryan Carnes) and Pete (Owen Burke) decide to gather at their family home in Oregon to scatter their father’s ashes. This is a creepy, backwoods kind of place (that we recognise from the prologue) laced with repressed family memories and terrible stories of children being taken by the river. At the centre of the unease that hangs like a cloud over the family is Lou’s brother Reynolds (Michael Biehn) and a woman called Rachael (Caroline Vreeland) who we recognise as the woman who lured Lou to his death. There’s something bad going on here and we’re pretty sure it involves Louie, but the film gets very bogged down while we wait for the inevitable disappearance of the boy to happen.
And, while we wait, Pete keeps having flashbacks to his own childhood where unspeakable things were going on in this house and he slowly puts together the truth of who and what the family is. It’s here, as the movie shifts towards its climax, that the whole thing becomes tediously predictable trudging towards the conclusion that we’ve seen coming since the beginning of the movie.
It's hard to make occult films work without the rituals and demonic practices being laughable and, sadly, this film doesn’t meet the challenge, attempting to paper over the cracks in its shaky narrative with some gratuitous semi-nudity and plenty demonic tropes. As expected, the film propels itself towards a suitable comeuppance for its villain and the predictable self-sacrifice as redemption for one of the brothers.
RED HANDED veers unsteadily between its moments of mystery and its moments of horror with neither of them being totally satisfying for the audience. It’s great to see a couple of eighties icons like Madsen and Biehn chewing up the scenery in their brief and highly melodramatic appearances, but this and some strong performances by most of the cast isn’t enough to overcome the plodding story and the muddle of the final scenes or, most importantly, the fact that we’ve been waiting for the past eighty minutes for these scenes to confirm what we’ve known since the start.