Prophecy_5_ForsakenKari Wurher returns as American Allison, who is apparently a grad student, (Wurher is nearly fifty, so…progress?) is the protector of the Lexicon.  The Mysterious Stark has hired Dylan to kill Allison because heaven does not want the new information in the Lexicon to reach human eyes.

Dylan ends up helping Allison attempt to avoid death…and she also enlists the help of Satan again.

So…um, this film did not interest me much at all. There is suddenly a rule where Angels do not kill people. On the other hand, they revive the “Almost Dead Human forced to do an angel’s bidding” deal with the character of Dylan. Stark is nicely ominous, which is no surprise as he is played by Tony Todd.

But that is pretty much the only thing that stands out to me about this film. It faded from my memory pretty quickly and left about the same impression as it’s predecessor. Both films feel more like attempts to simply make a quick buck. Just as before, this lacks any of the deeper dialog of the first three films.

I had not seen the second two films until this year, and I cannot say they were necessary…granted, few films are “necessary”, but plenty are unnecessary but good or at least entertaining.  These last two sequels are neither.

Prophecy_4_UprisingSo, the Prophecy series went dormant. And honestly? I would have been perfectly satisfied with it being a trilogy of films.  But 2005 brought the first of two sequels that were filmed back to back on the cheap.

Set in Bucharest, American Allison discovers the Lexicon, a religious manuscript that is still writing itself. It is writing a new chapter of Revelations, and demon Belial wants it. Satan wants to stop this and enlists a cop with a secret connection to Allison.

So, pretty much the only angels here are of the fallen kind.  Satan verses demons. The war in Heaven may be over, but hell is not doing so well. So, yeah, Satan is the good guy here by default.

This film feels nothing like the first three, and lacks the thoughtful dialog. This is a pretty boring film and I just could not get into it.

 

I took the name for this post from a Christian Rap group called Preachers In Disguise, or P.I.D. for short.  Which was not well thought out, since a search for “P.I.D.” brings up a ton of links about Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.

Prophecy_3_The_Ascent_PosterPicking up several years after the second film, Danyael (the son of Jennifer Beal’s character) has grown up an angry young man who has refused to accept his place or that the world is part of something bigger. Life is cold…God is dead…there is no grand design.  He has a gathering of followers. However, angels still are seeking to destroy him.

Meanwhile, Gabriel has begun to have a change in his understanding. Having spent years as a human, he realizes he has some atoning to do. He works to protect Danyael and set him on a proper path. This includes taking on the angel who replaced Gabriel in the  opposition to God, Pyriel. Pyriel has an agent, Zophael, who is using Danyael’s girlfriend to track him down.

This film is a strong continuation of the themes from the first film. The finding of lost faith is there, but there is also a strong redemption arc, focused on people atoning.

I really liked the final film in a nice little religious fantasy films.

“It’s Not a Blind, Indifferent Universe, Danyael. It Never was.”

The Prophecy_2_PosterGabriel is back…because hell got tired of him.  Really, really tired of him. And so he gets back in league with his fellow rebelling angels. This time they are trying to prevent a union between and Angel and a woman. The resulting child could shift the war in favor of the Angels still loyal to God and man.

This film continues a lot of the ideas and motifs as the first film. It is a bit clunky at times, but is largely a pretty workable sequel with some fine performances. Walken  has a real feel for where Gabriel should be in this film.  Eric Roberts plays his opposition with a sense of authority. Jennifer Beals i s good in a somewhat thankless role as the character reacting to everything happening to her.

The film ends on a pretty interesting note with a nice comeuppance for Gabriel. For the most part, I enjoyed this second film in the growing franchise.

Prophesy_PosterThomas Dagget once was on the path to the priesthood, but on the day of his ordination, he had a vision of war and destruction, angel against angel.  This put him on a new path…that of police detective.

Meanwhile, Angels are walking the earth to try and resolve their conflict.  Gabriel and his fellow angels are upset that God favors man above angels. This has resulted in a war that has been in a stalemate. Gabriel has angels seeking the soul of a recently deceased General who was a very evil man in life. Simon is an angel who is trying to keep this soul from Gabriel and his minions.

Simon reaches out to Dagget, who then gets pulled into this war in the heavens.

The Prophecy is probably one of my favorite religious fantasy films.  It has a lot of great dialog.  Some is short, like the discussion between Simon and Dagget where Simon asks if he is a part of God’s plan. Thomas responds that it is a complicated question…Simon quietly says back “No it isn’t.”  And this is the ongoing question of the film…is there a plan? Does faith matter? Is belief of value?  It explores these things in a thoughtful manner.

There are scenes where Satan appears (played by Viggo Mortenson) to the leads, and he has some great dialog.  Walken is great as the angel Gabriel. He is ominous and yet, there is a weird sense of humor to him.  The film builds intriguing mythology…one is that Angels cannot drive.  This forces Gabriel to get human minions…to do this, he finds souls on the verge of death and forces them to stay on earth in bodies that are still dead.

The film has some neat visuals, such as how the angels all perch on objects like birds throughout the films.

The prophecy is an intriguing film and a satisfying watch.

The_Devils_Advocate_PosterKevin Lomax is a hotshot lawyer in a small Florida town. He has never lost a cost, until it seems, he finds himself unable to defend a school teacher accused of molesting young girls. He manages to undermine and humiliate the accuser and win the case after all. This brings him to the attention of a large New York firm.

Skeptical at first, Kevin and Mary Ann Lomax are soon swept away by the lavish lifestyle afforded them. But the more time passes, the more Kevin’s ambition starts causing him to turn a blind eye to the darker aspects of this world.

At the same time, Mary Ann is drowning in this new world, her confidence constantly being undermined by supposed friend Jackie.

It all leads to the discovery that…well, the head of the law firm is Satan. And Satan has big plans for Kevin.

The film is not a metaphor, I mean, Al Pacino’s John Milton (subtle) is definitely the devil, there is all sorts of supernatural moments…Kevin is the young man tempted by his own lusts for achievement.  At one point, when Mary Ann is seemingly lost, Milton offers Kevin an opportunity to step back, devote time to helping his wife work back to health. But Kevin justifies not doing so out of “concern” that if she got better, he would resent her for it.

I have always had a soft spot for this film. I think Pacino has a lot of fun, and some great over the top dialog.  It has a really solid cast (Craig T. Nelson plays an obvious trump analog).

It can, however, be a bit ham-fisted, and it can be really hard to want Kevin to succeed in the film watching him constantly make the most awful choices. And what is really annoying? The cheat of the end of the film. It makes almost the entire story feel like there were no lessons to be learned. There is also some really terrible digital compositing…in scenes where there should not have been that big of a challenge (the cityscape behind Reeves and Connie Nielsen in one scene where they are on a balcony is just…embarrassingly bad, especially post Jurassic Park).

But, again, Pacino is fun to watch (his massive speech at the end is a pretty fair indictment of humanity, all done with that Pacino flair) and this is one of those Keanu roles where he is kind of clueless, which seems to allow him to deliver some of his best performances. Charlize Theron is sweet and sympathetic pretty much all through the film, and her descent into the mouth of madness is heartbreaking.  The Devil’s Advocate is a mostly fun watch with even a few moments of insight.

Overwatch (The Sentinel, 1977)

The_Sentinel_PosterModel Alison Parker is looking to get a bit of space in her relationship with lawyer Michael. Her apartment search leads to an old building with furnished apartments that affordable.

After moving in she starts to have fainting spells while on photo shoots. She is also getting to know her rather eccentric neighbors. There is Charles, who tells her about the other tenants, Gerde and Sandra and the old priest they never see who lives upstairs.

In one very uncomfortable scene, Sandra starts masturbating as Alison tries to avoid watching. This scene is as awkward for the viewer as much as Alison. The police are investigating Alison’s situation, with an eye on her boyfriend, who they suspect may have killed his wife. MeanwhileMichael is looking into her neighbors and makes a disturbing discovery…but not quite as disturbing as the one Alison makes when speaking with the woman who showed her the apartment. She and the priest are the only two occupants.

Michael Winner, director of several Charles Bronson films (including the first three Death Wish movies) both wrote and directed this supernatural thriller. And it is pretty good.  The film has some genuinely solid scares. In one scene, Christina is walking through her building in the dark when suddenly a creepy pale and neatly naked figure walks past her unexpectedly.  She is horrified to realize it is her abusive father, who is recently deceased.

The film is a bit infamous for using people with very real deformities in the grand finale, and while it is startling, it also feels incredibly exploitive. Burgess Meredith make a fine creepy old guy who seems harmless and kind (if odd) when we first meet, only to discover he had sinister and cruel motives all along.

The film is also kind of notable for early film roles for Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Walken.

Winner has created a (very) minor horror classic in the vein of an old haunted house movie. It has some real chills and has a rather interesting ending.

Legion_PosterSo, God has lost faith in humanity and is going to go all “Noah’s Ark” on humanities ass…except there is no plan to save anyone. But one angel, Michael, feels in his heart that God is wrong and decides he must intervene. So, he comes to Earth to get some guns.

At a remote diner, Charlie is pregnant with humanity’s only hope. Soon the diner and it’s occupants are under siege by what they assume are people possessed by demons. Michael shows up and informs them these are actually people possessed by angels.

Michael explains he is there to help hold the other angels off until the baby is born (the film is set on Christmas Eve). The characters desperately fight to make it through it as more and more angels arrive. But Michael has a ton of guns to use and share with the folks in the diner.

Honestly, the film is pretty silly. It is trying to be a little of everything…there are sharp toothed angel possessed people, a creepy ice cream man, but lots of action movies stunts and shooting of the guns. Gabriel has a pretty wicked mace though.

The drama just comes off as kind of silly. Which is kind of sad.

You see, the film is full of interesting ideas. God has grown weary of humanity letting Him down with our darkness. This film has hints of the Sodom and Gomorrah story in the bible, except Michael is the one petitioning to save humanity and instead of one righteous soul, he seeks to save a baby.

The film wants you to see the big ideas…faith, can God’s heart be turned from anger (again, this has big shades of Noah)? Can an angel rebel against God and be forgiven? What is the nature of mercy. But the movie deals with these thing ineptly.  Not unlike Director Scott Stewart’s follow up to this film, Priest (also starring Paul Bettany), the most important thing is not story, but stylishness.

Wic-Kid (Whisper, 2009)

Whisper_PosterA group of desperate criminals are hired to kidnap and hold a young boy for ransom. But it turns out that the purpose of the kidnapping is much darker than any of them initially thought.

The child starts to reveal himself to be a sinister force as he haunts each of his captors.

Honestly, I do not have a lot to say about the film. It is kind of a standard “scary kid” film…without any particularly interesting twists (okay, save one, when the film reveals the person who paid the kidnappers).

The kid is actually pretty well written and the young actor does a good job being creepy.

It is the cast that stands out the most here.You have Josh Holloway (of Lost), Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break and the Walking Dead), Michael Rooker and Joel Edgerton as the kidnappers.  They all deliver.

Whisper is a decently creepy film that does not really add anything special to the Devil Kid genre (I mean, he has a dark furred devil dog!), but it is entertaining.

 

The Do-Over (The Omen 666, 2006)

the_Omen_2006_PosterWell…someone decided they needed to get a remake out by June 6th, 2006. In a weird twist, screenwriter of the original film returned to write this remake. I call it a weird twist because in a documentary about the original four films, Seltzer did not write the sequels because he does not do sequels.

The result is an almost shot for shot remake of the original.  Not like Gus Van Zandt’s Psycho remake. There are slight differences here and there.

Mia Farrow’s performance as the nanny seems sweeter throughout the film, which make the sequence where she enters the hospital where Julie Style’s Katherine Thorn is being cared for really ominous.

The original film had a child in the role that was cherubic…adorable. You knew he was bad, but you could not help but sympathize. Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick is made to look creepy in every shot.  He is a scary kid.

The film is full of stylistic flourish, but it just feels like an imitation, trying to up the horrors of the original, but oddly falling short.