Friday, October 19, 2012

Messiah of Evil

A woman travels to a small beach town to visit her father, and finds that he has mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind a cryptic, spooky journal. She teams up with some oddball libertine and his two girlfriends, and they uncover the town's shocking (and incomprehensible) secret.

As a fan of strange and surreal horror films, I had been looking forward to Messiah of Evil due to its reputation as a big old creepy slice of WTF. Alas, my friends, this is no Inferno or City of the Living Dead or House. For one, the weirdness isn't really obtained through any powerful imagery (there may be a moment or two, but the film looks ugly and most of its images are banal), more so by its odd, hard to follow plot. Unfortunately, the story doesn't feel incomprehensible in a dream-like way, it feels awkward in the poorly-made low budget horror movie way. Now, I'm fully willing to believe that the filmmakers were going for deliberately surreal, but it just doesn't scan that way. The story is too dull and stiff and follows some pretty obvious horror movie beats. It doesn't lead you along from scene to disconnected scene by way of dream logic like the best of these films.

Bottom line: watch the similar but far superior Dead and Buried instead. You'll thank me in the morning.

Rating: C-


Mr. Subtlety said...

I do have to defend this one a little. It's not quite as stylish as it needs to be to pull off the dream logic it's clearly going for, but an unusual premise and some effective, imaginative sequences do make it memorable and occasionally pretty effective. There isn't really any other film like it, and to me that's worth more than entirely pulling off what it's going for.

Dan said...

I'd agree with you, except I don't really recall there being any particularly imaginative sequences. And the only thing "unique" about the plot is that it doesn't make much sense. And, I mean, see every giallo ever if you want to find another film like this one.