Monday, September 20, 2010

Satan Returns: Fear No Evil

How many films can Satan be in?  Sure, he's the embodiment of evil and sin on Earth, but the guy needs a break!  We've had five Omen films- counting the remake- and even a television pilot.  Yeah, they tried to turn the film into a TV series- true story!  In this case, the story of this film does involve Satan, but it does not involve Gregory Peck, Sam Neill or an in-born fetus of the devil.  No, this film is Fear No Evil, a film that I've never heard of until everyone online started going 'you need to see Fear No Evil- it's great.'  It's rare that I ignore popular demand, so here it is.  Get out your killer dodge ball for my review of...
The film begins with a shirtless man being ineffectively-chased by an old man.  Damn, Dennis The Menace's neighbor has finally snapped!  This is actually a priest who is trying to catch the latest vessel of the Anti-Christ.  You know, after all of these different films, the Devil is appearing less like a super-powered evil and more like Cobra Commander!  This one is a bit cocky, taunting the priest by turning into a young girl before reappearing as himself.  Wow, that was both cool and pointless.  After a bit of boasting, he tries to control the priest's staff, but it flies through his chest instead.  You knew my one weakness- my chest is made out of tissue paper!  The movie jumps to a kid being born and taken by his family to get baptized.  A strange event happens in the church as the holy water turns into blood & the kid is taken out.  We are treated to a time-lapse/montage of the parent's bitching about how the kid is ruining their lives and the house getting worse-looking by the minute.  Damn you...kid who is apparently doing something that we aren't shown.  Eighteen years go by and we learn that kid is now an awkward-looking teen who goes to a High School full of cliches.  Drug-smoking jerk, do your thing!
Basically, Satan's favorite son goes through all the usual teen angst-related problems.  He has the hots for a girl, but she turns out to be the reincarnation of an Archangel.  Man, I can totally relate to that!  The drug-smoking jerk picks a fight with the shower.  Thanks, movie- I'm glad to see that David DeCoteau got his start here!  Satan's son uses his unholy powers to...make the guy kiss him, causing him to run off embarrassed.  That's all you've got, huh?  On top of that, the girl has a boyfriend who proposes to her after announcing that he got into Columbia.  So yeah, you're going to die.  Sure enough, the young men play dodge ball in gym while little Satan does push-ups.  He begins to use his powers to drive the coach to go crazy and toss a ball at the kid, sending the kid flying into the rafters and his death!  I get the emotional manipulation, but how did you give him super powers?!?  We learn during all of this that an older woman wandering around town is apparently the other Archangel.  In addition to that, the priest from the beginning was sent to jail for killing the guy.  That's logical, but also not.  How did the Forensics Expert explain the flying staff through the guy's chest again?
After all of this slow stuff and random death, this movie can only get better.  The girl is comforted by the older woman, who tries to drive her towards her destiny.  It's a good thing, since the Satan kid is appearing to her randomly and having 'dream sex' with her.  You couldn't have done anything before the guy nearly rapes her and leaves a giant scar on her back, huh?  The drug-smoking jerk has issues with the townspeople, while the town prepares to do it's annual Passion Play.  Wow, subtle.  The group leave a bar after a fight breaks out, so they decide to take a boat ride over to the island from before.  At the Play, the performance goes on strong until the Satan child's ceremony causes blood to drip down every person's head and faces.  On the island, the demon kid causes some havoc and murder for the group.  Meanwhile, the girl and the woman make their way over as well & try to get Anti-Christ Jr to stop.  Thank God, they have that killer staff...somehow.  It's not evidence in the murder case, huh?  Anyways, they try to stop him from creating more death and evil.  It's a good thing you came, since he's apparently summoning zombies.  Not only that, but he gives the stoner-jerk breasts!  After all of this, they use the staff to project crazy light effects at Little Satan Kid until ILM blows their wad all over the screen.  I see where the budget went now!  Satan Jr is defeated once again.  The End.
This movie is good, but it has issues.  I like the premise and the execution is pretty good.  The pacing is a bit off and I would have preferred if they could have made the deaths less sudden.  Plus, that bit of male nudity was really unnecessary, guys!  If you're going to do it, give us straight guys something maybe- I'm just saying. Speaking of which, this movie really blows its wad on the finale.  Where did all of those crazy light effects come from?  Could you have made it less of a 180?  Mind you, they actually hold up pretty well- especially given that it was made in 1981- and do add a bit of interest to the finale.  They just kind of appear.  It's like a fireworks show in December!  A big problem with this movie is that a lot of this actually comes off as too subtle.  The build-up to the whole Archangel thing is played pretty close to their hand.  It works in a certain sense, but it just does more to make the finale so crazy and unexpected.  Ultimately, the question is this: is this a good movie?  Yes.  Is it a film that I can recommend to everyone?  No.  Hardcore horror fans should definitely check this out and fans of obscure horror will love it.  Plus, it's an Anchor Bay release- bonus.
Next up, it's time to look at the film series that gave haunted houses a bad name.  In the seventh film, your own worst enemy is your own reflection!  Stay tuned...

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