Devour is Sans Minds’ take on a plot that has been around for a while. In brief – spectator selects a card which is signed and returned to deck which is then returned to the card box. Performer then draws a cartoon face on the box – which visually ‘wakes up’ – and then ‘chomps’ all the cards in the deck with the exception of the chosen one. The pieces can then be tipped out onto the spectator’s waiting hand.
Where do we start?
The thing which sells this (and so many Sans Minds releases) is the visual nature of the change. However, I have a few questions about that. Even on the tiny 4cm square photo on the DVD box it was easy to see there is something quite odd about the card case – you’d really need to keep it in motion to actually properly fool someone. And I’m not convinced that the change itself is fast enough on its own.
Another significant gripe is the fact that you have to make your own gimmick. The DVD box says there’s a onetime 15 minute construction needed. In fact it takes 24 minutes to demonstrate the construction on the DVD – that’s with someone that knows what they’re doing and has everything perfectly to hand (and has all the cards chopped up in an instant!). This is going to take you at least half an hour and possibly longer – and you also need to supply some extra things which aren’t included.
For the spectator, the big surprise is the cards being eaten and theirs being intact. I’m not sure the little visual effect of the face changing on the way adds enough to the effect to warrant all the extra work. The premise of the original effect on which this was based involved dropping a razor blade in the card box which slashed all the cards – and I would have thought the impact on the audience was much the same.
Similarly, the ‘nice to have’ aspect of seeing the card returned into the middle of the deck (rather than just into the card box) is just that – nice to have. And they even explain a way of handing out the box at the end which is barely necessary.
On the plus side
The DVD is well shot and easy to follow. Explanation is clear (almost painfully on occasion) and in addition to the detailed explanation of the routine includes a much faster walkthrough from the spectator’s perspective which is helpful.
Teaching runs to just under an hour and includes a tips section with ideas for the care and storage of your gimmicks and thoughts about angles and variations. It also credits Credits Devon Monteir’s Cannibal trick (1973) on which many modern variations are based.
Once you’ve gone to the trouble of making it all up, the trick is pretty easy to perform, as long as you are fairly confident. Confidence is required more than skilful handling. As I was watching Devour it reminded me of a somewhat souped up version of Blaze/Dreamweaver (which you can find on the excellent Chardistry DVD). If you’re looking for a version that requires less DIY then I’d opt for that DVD and get a load of different effects too.
If the visual element of Devour does it for you, and your craft skills are good, then what area you waiting for? Head over to the Merchant of Magic to pick up your copy now. (£24.99 at the time of writing)
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.