The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
The Prophecy: Forsaken (2005)
This is the second of two Prophecy sequels written by our friend Johnny Sullivan (Twitter @johnnyblackout), who also wrote the fantastic Recoil. Because both are on Instant, it worked out great that I could watch both, and Johnny was gracious enough to answer my questions about the writing process of both this, and the one before it, The Prophecy: Uprising. Also, our friends at Comeuppance Reviews and The Video Vacuum have done this one and the previous one too, so you can go there to see what they thought. (And I feel bad that I totally forgot to include their links to Uprising in that review. Sorry guys.)
The Prophecy: Forsaken picks up where Uprising left off. Kari Wuher is protecting the Bible, but now a new angel wants it, played by the great Tony Todd. Angels can't get blood on their hands though, so he sends hit man Jason Scott Lee to kill Wuher. Lee has a change of heart though after something inside Wuher tells him not to. After she escapes, she seeks out the Devil's help (played again by John Light), but can she trust the Devil? If not him, then who can she trust? And why does Tony Todd want this damn book so bad?
This is pretty good. It's not quite as good as Uprising, mostly because it's so short-- only 75 minutes, which, I know, it's crazy I'm complaining about the length being too short, but the shortness prevented us from developing the great characters played by Lee and Todd further. Still, I found it to be a fun DTV supernatural thriller, and was a fun companion to Uprising. Wuher, Lee, Todd, and Light all turn in great performances, and anyone who's a fan of them will enjoy seeing them here. Not a bad deal for something on Instant.
As I mentioned above, Johnny was kind enough to tell us about the writing process for both of these films. One thing I see a lot in the Netflix reviews and other places the films are discussed, was the idea that this was one script turned into two movies, and that wasn't true. Johnny had two previously written unrelated scripts that he made into these films, and both of them were rewritten by director Joel Soisson to his personal vision and to fit Dimension's budgetary restrictions. He said both films were meant to be short, but this one was shorter than his initial 80-90 page script, and it was very different from both the original story it was based on, and what he sold to them. Also, fun fact, he got his Twitter handle from the original title of the Forsaken script: "Johnny Blackout". You can read more about his work on these films in the Uprising review.
Kari Wuher reprises her role from Uprising, this time getting a little more background on her story. We find out she was in Bucharest working at the church where the sacred Bible was kept because she was finishing her PhD dissertation on theology from the University of Chicago. As the story becomes more convoluted, and we don't know who to trust, we're still with her exclusively and rooting for her to prevail, even if her prevailing isn't the best thing for us. It makes for a level of nuance in a 75-minute DTV flick that we seldom see, which is always welcomed.
Tony Todd comes in as a bad angel and is immediately menacing, yet also has the sophistication you want from a character like that. The man is the consummate professional, and has a pile of credits in everything from big Hollywood pictures to DTV to TV movies to TV shows to video game voice work. I love seeing him in anything, and he was great here. Jason Scott Lee, like Todd, had a cool part, but also like Todd, his role was underdeveloped, which was a disappointment. I guess the issue was, how do you tell us who Lee and Todd are, while still centering the film around Wuher, and keeping it all in under 75 minutes. Oh, and Jason London reprised his small role as Simon, Wuher's guardian angel.
Finally, John Light is back as the Devil, and he's even better this time. Here is a great scene with him eating a Twinkie. I love the idea of the Devil not exactly being the bad guy, but he's still the Devil and still a bad guy. Like, he's helping Kari Wuher, but he helps her by killing a little girl. How do we make peace with that? We do it through John Light's great performance. I joked in the Uprising review that he was the Poor Man's Dane Cook, and the first Poor Man's anyone to be better than the original; but now I'm going with him as great on his own, and won't put him and Dane Cook in the same sentence anymore, even as a joke.
Both as something to check out on Instant and as something you might come across on cable at 3AM, this isn't a bad deal. I liked Uprising better, but after Uprising this is only another 75 minutes, so not bad to watch after. Also, I'd say that watching Forsaken without seeing Uprising first is a bad idea, because you need to know what happened in Uprising. And again, thank you to Johnny for answering my questions and talking about the film with us, I really appreciate it.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0439771/