Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Delayed Reviews: Communion (1989)

Phillippe Mora is back again with a totally-true story that cannot be authenticated.  Ah, good times.  This film is based on the book of the same name by Whitley Strieber.  While the name may not be 'household,' you will probably know two of his works: Wolfen and The Hunger.  Yeah, that's more familiar.  After a drop-off in popularity after the latter book, he was apparently visited by 'Visitors' in 1985.  This led him to right this book, followed by two others about the subject.  What a coincidence- a science-fiction writer is visited by aliens after a four year drought in work!  While his claims may be dubious, this did not stop Phillippe Mora from adapting into a film four years later though.  To that end, he got Christopher Walken to play the lead role- genius!  The whole film hinges upon a series of crazy scenes involving 'the Visitors.'  If you don't buy it, you won't buy the movie.  Did I buy it?  Get out your cheap, rubber masks for my review of...
The film begins with Christopher Walken being, well, weird.  He sits around his apartment in weird hats, masks and attire while trying to write.  In fact, he doesn't wear pants for a good portion of the beginning.  Thanks for that, movie.  He has writer's block and can't get another novel out, no matter how hard he tries.  With his wife and son, he goes out on a camping trip, accompanied by the family's close friends.  One night, weird lights and sounds show up and bother everyone.  In the morning, the other couple want to leave, causing the group to all drive back.  The movie continues not explaining anything for a while until we learn that Whitley/Walken is becoming unbalanced.  Okay, more unbalanced.  It culminates in a Halloween party where he sees a kid in a costume and totally freaks out.  This is interesting, but not worth watching thirty minutes of filler.  Finally, the man begins to face the demons that surround him.  As it turns out, it all relates to that one night...
The only real interesting part of the movie is the 'Visitor' abduction scene, so let me just focus on it.  It's weird and dreamlike, featuring alien puppets, weird masks and toys- yes, toys.  It's not traumatic like Fire in the Sky- it's just freaking weird!  I mean, Walken is naked (they never show anything) and talking about how they're going to anally-probe him.  It's...something to be seen.  The scene runs for a few minutes and really makes the movie.  After this, he tries to confront the event, going through hypnotherapy, group therapy and some general yelling at people.  When you start to see aliens in your cabin and nearly shoot your wife, you should probably seek help.  Unfortunately, the whole thing just sort of peters out with the man accepting that the thing happening and deciding to write a book.  The End.
This movie is...well, very weird.  A good portion of the film is just about the man being strange with his family.  You don't really see the crazy alien stuff until about an hour in.  You get hints of it before hand, mind you, but nothing in full.  Thankfully, this is all tolerable due to Walken playing the lead role here.  Seriously, I would not have bothered with this film had it starred just about anyone else (except for Jeffrey Combs).  As I said, the alien scene is really the only thing to watch the film for.  To Mora's credit, he builds up to it for a while, learning a lesson that Cronenberg taught us with Scanners.  That said, you should know what to expect here: a dull movie that is built around something really insane.  If you're looking for a balanced movie, you should not look here.  Mind you, if you expect a balanced movie from Phillippe Mora, you should just give up.  Need I remind you that he did a movie about were-supials that are spiritual-descendants of the Tasmanian Tiger?!?  If you can wait it out, you can have fun here.  Of course, the good stuff is probably on YouTube already.  That or you can just watch this: http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/19427-top-11-christ-walken
Next up, Jeffrey Combs stars in a movie about a killer shark-person.  Need I say anymore?  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Great review! This is one of the weirdest movies ever made IMHO...Christopher Walken is actually the most normal part of it, which really tells you something! I think the weirdness actually makes the movie so surreal (like the part where the alien just peeks into his room) that it can be quite terrifying at times, much more so than movies where the alien action is more aggressive, like Fire in the Sky.