Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Prophecy (1995)

Fear 0/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 0/5

So-so Satan flick that is not to be confused with the low budget deformed-bear movie from 1979 that scared the pee pee out of me when I was eight. Or, at least the commercials did, I've actually never seen it...Netflix I hear you knockin'. Anyway, this one is different.

Conceptually, The Prophecy is kind of fun: a group of rebel angels lead by Gabriel has been waging war against God and his loyal angels for around 1000 years or so. The rebel angels are jealous of mankind because God loves Man more than he does the angels (he gave them souls which really pissed some of them off). Now, in 1995, angels start showing up on Earth fighting each other and leaving behind weird corpses that have two sex organs and whose ages cannot be determined (among other things).

The prophecy that the title refers to is a missing chapter from the book of Revelations that reveals the reason these angels are now showing up. The chapter states that a dark soul can be found on Earth, one so evil and awful that it eats the souls of other men increasing in power each time it does. Sort of like when you zap Godzilla with nuclear weapons. Or eat a Powerbar.

Obviously this is something Gabriel (played to cheesy perfection by Christopher Walken) would like to get his hands on if he intends to overthrow God. The "dark soul" turns out to be - no, no, not Hitler, not Stalin, not Pol Pot, not any of the other guys you may normally associate with "ultimate evil", but some army general who passed away a few days ago in a little town in Arizona.

Evil you say? Yes, "EEE-VEL!"

Meanwhile, Lucifer (an early role for Viggo Mortenson) is not having any of this. He's pissed that there could be two Hells now, two Lords of the Underworld. Being a jealous guy (he is the king of vice after all) he shows up to offer help to the puny humans who are trying to fend off Walken and his band of goofballs.

So, conceptually, it's ok. It's creative and I'm a sucker for satanic stuff, always entertains me - I mean, I saw End of Days in the theater, I can't figure out why I never saw this. But the execution, like most 90's horror films, falls on it's face. The plot is overburdened with unnecessary stuff - there's the spiritual crisis the main protagonist is undergoing, the Native American religions vs. Western religions, the possession of a little girl, the comic relief of having wise-cracking reanimated corpses do the dirty work for Gabriel (he can't drive for example) - all too much and too silly.

Additionally, there are too many "big name" actors in here. Walken I can handle, he's creepy enough in real life for me to accept. But Eric Stoltz, nah. Virginia Madsen, naaah. Adam Goldberg, Amanda Plummer - see, these are the tell tale signs that a horror movie is going to be lame.

There's some decent gore, but there's also some cheesy and very poorly done CGI effects. There's some fun and creative elements, but then there's the melodramatic, neo-noir dialogue. There's Steve Hytner, aka Kenny Bania from Seinfeld ("It's gold Jerry - GOLD!"), but then there's Eric Stoltz, aka the dude from Mask.

A heavy contender for the definition of "meh". But that's just me - it has four sequels so someone must like it.

- Complaint Department

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