Director: Julian Doyle
Starring: Simon Callow, Kal Weber, Lucy Cudden
This one caught me off guard, as I was none too impressed by the first 15 mins or so. But don't give up - it gets better.
It's a British production, so you have some pretty ordinary locations, costumes, and non-glamorous actors. And at first I got the impression of uninspired camerawork and a low-budget feel ... but on reflection I think this may have been a conscious stylistic decision to emulate the look of classic 70's Hammer Horror films. It certainly felt dated at times ... but at others not at all.
The other thing that often typifies British films is good scripts that don't pander to the lowest common denominator of mass-market appeal like Hollywood does. And in this respect, the film comes up trumps.
With a gritty realism reminiscent of films such as The Exorcist, The Shining, and Altered States ... this is a cerebral horror film with some great ideas thrown into a story that keeps you interested right to the end. Many areas were touched on in the film that will please avid readers ... Freemasonry, Isis and Osiris, Joseph of Arimathea, The Quantum Uncertainty Principle, Black Holes, Schrodinger's Cat, and parallel universes to name a few.
Based on the premise of the notorious British occultist Aleister Crowley resurrecting himself, the story weaves fact with fiction to create a fairly consistent, albeit fantastic premise. I'm not sure if everything would hold up to critical analysis, but nothing seemed glaringly inconsistent - and hell, this is a supernatural horror movie after all! And I have to say, its one of the better ones.
Interestingly, one of the co-writers is Bruce Dickinson ... none other than lead singer of Iron Maiden. Had I known this beforehand I wouldn't have been so surprised to hear snatches of 'Can I Play with Madness' thrown into the soundtrack.
One of the obvious standouts of the film is the performance of Simon Callow who creates one of the most memorable evil characters in recent times. I'm sure I sensed shades of Vincent Price in some of the shots. The movie is worth watching for his performance alone.
Overall this is a very worthy supernatural horror movie - especially for fans of intelligent horror. It is at times funny, outrageous, crude, gory, and creepy... and refreshingly un-PC. Also I'm glad to say that the ending is not disappointing, which I was suckered into thinking it might be. The typical boy saves girl from the bad guy in the nick of time would've seriously pissed me off. Without giving anything away, its sufficient to say that the ending ties things up neatly, and in a completely unexpected way.
SummaryNot for fans of Hollywood movies, glamorous actors, beautiful images, typicale horror, gore or action films. But viewers with a twisted sense of humour, an open adult mind, and love of a good story may well be impressed.
My Rating: 6.5/10