Sunday, October 31, 2004

Movie Review: The Prophecy

United States, 1994
U.S. Release Date: 9/1/95
Running Time: 1:38
Rated: R (Violence, profanity, gore)
Cast: Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Christopher Walken, Eric Stoltz, Moriah Shining Dove Snyder, Viggo Mortensen, Adam Goldberg, Amanda Plummer

Director: Gregory Widen
Producer: Joel Soisson
Screenplay: Gregory Widen
Music: David C. Williams
Studio: Dimension Films

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In some circles, The Prophecy is described as a "campy religious thriller". However, it’s really nothing more than a prime case of apocalyptic horror gone bad. Unlike The Omen and even End of Days, The Prophecy is incoherent, dumb, and dull. Considering writer/director Gregory Widen happened to be fully aware of the quasi-monotonous quality his film takes on, he obviously tried taking the campy route. But, too often The Prophecy deviates from camp and becomes crap.

The Prophecy begins with Simon (Eric Stoltz), an angel out to serve God, recollecting the first war in Heaven. Simon says that the skies were once aflame, the faces of angels were once destroyed, and when Lucifer (Viggo Mortensen) fell, Hell was created. Little did Simon know then, that a second war would occur so soon thereafter.

This time around, the archangel Gabriel (Christopher Walken), is so jealous of God’s love for humans (or "talking monkeys" as Gabriel calls them), that he wants to permanently prevent their entry into Heaven. In order to do so, he must find the soul of one of the world’s most evil men, a once cannibalistic Colonel, and use it as a weapon to win the war over the opposing angels. With the soul of the Colonel, Gabriel knows he can create an additional Hell where he can rule over all else.

Out to stop Gabriel, are two puny humans—Thomas Daggett (Elias Koteas), a former student of the seminary turned police detective, and Katherine Henley (Virginia Madsen), a school teacher. Once a few otherworldly events begin to take place, both Thomas and Katherine begin to piece together the reality of the warring angels around them. They soon realize that Mary (Moriah Shining Dove Snyder), a student of Katherine’s, received the soul of the perfect killer from Simon – just before he died – in order to keep it hidden from the conniving Gabriel. Now, Thomas and Katherine must protect Mary from Gabriel, and attempt to save all of humankind.

Truthfully, every aspect of The Prophecy, excluding Christopher Walken, is unsavory. The film’s poor special effects, distracting soundtrack, and clunky dialogue, all match the picture’s largely sardonic tone. Collectively, The Prophecy crumbles into shambles under all of its flaws with no hope of Walken picking it up. Yes, Christopher Walken is electric as the jokester archangel Gabriel, but one performance cannot serve as a movie’s saving grace.

The rest of the cast (especially Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, and Moriah Shining Dove Snyder) is wholly bland. Elias (who looks like a cross between Robert DeNiro and Scott Stapp—the lead singer from the recently disjointed Creed), Virginia, and Moriah all play routine roles that contribute to both The Prophecy’s plot and characters being dually stock and predictable.

Furthermore, the fact that The Prophecy doesn’t take itself seriously just further downgrades the entire production. And worst of all, most of the campy dialogue isn’t all that amusing. In fact, in my case, while I looked at my watch anticipating the film’s end, there were more groans and sighs than chuckles.

The Prophecy is tasteless, tacky, and without question in need of numerous rewrites. Considering this film is solely based on the completely bogus biblical passage, "Even now in heaven, there are angels carrying savage weapons," I think bogus is a good word to describe this picture as a whole. Maybe this film’s cult following is meant to be esoteric, but to me it’s fundamentally pathetic. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell won’t be taking the time to view the sequels. (* out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2004