Josh Lobo's I TRAPPED THE DEVIL looks like twisted, horrific fun.
Gran'ma calls up Satan for a favour. Meanwhile, Tulip tries not to kill Lara as they pull the job in Osaka.
INTO THE FOREST is an allegorical look at a divorced family grappling with mental illness. Or is it?
Season 3, Episode 4: “The Tombs”
Directed by Wayne Yip
Written by Mark Stegemann
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Gonna Hurt” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Coffin” – click here
Back to Hell, for the first time in ages! A guard goes to a cell, letting the prisoner inside know: “It‘s time.” Of course, you know who it is— the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish). They head for the elevator, so he can get back to business. Hell’s quite the place, a lot of interesting architecture. Satan (Jason Douglas) is waiting in his office with the Angel of Death. Satan and the Saint have a talk. They discuss the man’s breakout, when he went back to Earth to hunt down the preacher, Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper). Seems the Dark Lord doesn’t like what it did to his reputation, so it’ll require making “amends.” That is, a bit of torture. The Angel of Death gives the Saint of Killers a nasty whipping, though he’s not overly affected.
But it gives Satan a thrill. It’s all good, man.
In the real world, Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) is busy trying to get information out of Madam Boyd (Prema Cruz). She gets trapped in Boyd territory. Luckily she’s a “crazy bitch,” and she gets herself out of there with the Madam with a bit of sheer will and gunfire.
Jump to back in the day, down in the tombs, where young Jesse (Will Kindrachuk) was ringleader of the circus in the Tombs at Angelville. He was their big presenter. Jody (Jeremy Childs) was a bare knuckle staple at those events. And TC (Colin Cunningham) had all those who gave over their souls to Madam L’Angell (Betty Buckley) locked up, awaiting a chance to fight in the middle of the ring so they might get back them back.
In present day, Jesse stands in the Tombs like years ago, watching his old pal, the vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), fend off the paedophile science teacher who’s spent an eternity down there. Eventually, Cass kills his opponent. He doesn’t get any time to celebrate, though. Jesse kicks him around a bit in front of TC and Jody. A nasty situation, even if it’s all part of an ultimate plan.
Soundtrack note: Great tune, fitting the Southern atmosphere and setting of Preacher.
More of the past. We see Madam Boyd has history with Jesse. She tells Tulip, in the present, the preacher was the “worst person” she’d ever loved. We see them when they were young. They were secretly having a relationship behind the back of those at Angelville. He was continually having a problem with reconciling the L’Angell business with life. He drove her away, purposefully, to keep her from danger. This is a recurring theme in Custer’s life— pushing people away, hurting people, whether it’s Sabina, Tulip, Cassidy, in order to keep them from being hurt worse by the fallout of his horrific personal life. Such as currently, he’s chopped Cassidy into bits and he’s putting the vamp, in pieces, inside a box to ship him out of there. The vamp thinks it’s bullshit, though this is the only way Jesse knows how to do things.
Back in day again, we see Jesse doing his thing at the Tombs. Sabina’s brother turned up looking to find Jesse, attacking him in the ring. The two men went fist to fist brutally. And Jesse strangled him to death in front of everybody. Hooooly shit. Following that he went back to hosting the sick show, even going so far as to quote Gladiator. In the present, Tulip refuses to believe Madam Boyd when she tells her the story.
In the Tombs, Jesse tells people “God has left Heaven” at the latest show. They’ve also discovered the vampire’s gone— he’s also escaped his box at the shipping store. Well, the preacher is actually shutting the place down. He refuses to let it continue. That is, until the vamp returns singing “Danny Boy.” He’s back for a fight, too. Good ole Irish lad. This pits him against Jesse. The two kick the shit out of one another, using fists and weapons alike. The preacher begs his friend to take the fall. At that moment, Tulip enters to see the carnage between the two men. She witnesses Jesse renouncing God and putting a makeshift stake into Cassidy, looking like a veritable monster. Once it’s all done Cass and Tulip take off together. Although the vampire tries to stress that Jesse’s only a “product of his environment.” And on top of that, Ms. O’Hare can’t bring herself to go. She pushes the vamp away to keep him safe. That recurring theme is the same for her right now, she’s in a position where she has to hurt someone to ensure they won’t be hurt worse by her collateral damage. Only she doesn’t realise Cassidy’s being watched by the Grail, as well.
Tulip goes back to Jesse, she knows the truth and she only wants him to be honest with her. She wants to be trusted, like a proper partner. So, Jesse tells her about what happened to Sabina’s brother. In reality, the guy was trying to kill him, and he was forced to do what he did out of self defence. It all just went to bolster Jesse’s reputation amongst the fans at the Tombs, creating a sick identity for him.
In Hell, Satan tells the Saint he has a mission for him. A bit of retrieval. He needs “two someones” brought back downstairs. They’re threats. It’s got to be a less lethal excursion, so the Saint can’t use guns this time. If he gets the job done, then he gets his weapons back, and he can go back to killing, searching for his preacher. I wonder who the two are, huh?
I will forever love this series. Enough said!
“The Coffin” is next time. Gonna get more fun from here on in, though that’s par for the course at this point, I suppose. Giddy up.
Ridley Scott's continuation of the Alien franchise explores the act of creation, drawing major parallels to John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost.
Another entry in Amando de Ossorio's BLIND DEAD series brings us more zombie Templar Knights! Om nom nom!
Another a.k.a Mark of the Witch. 2014. Directed & Written by Jason Bognacki.
Starring Paulie Redding, David Landry, Lillian Pennypacker, Maria Olsen, Michael St. Michaels, & Nancy Wolfe. Full Frame Features.
Not Rated. 80 minutes.
Generally, I’m an internet critic whose standards aren’t overly picky. If you’ve ready more than a handful of my reviews you’ll probably notice I’ve given out more 5-star reviews than others might in their own. But I don’t necessarily mean a 5-star film is always perfect; part of my judgement, as any of our judgement is, comes from a subjective place. You can never get rid of subjectivity. However, even while I try to give certain films a break for little nitpicky things there is a limit to my understanding. I’m not going to give a shit film a great rating. I just try to cut filmmakers some slack; it isn’t easy to make a great movie.
When it comes to movies like Another, there’s only so far my sympathies extend. I’m a sucker for possession movies, or anything to do with Satan (mainly because I don’t believe in any deities or any of that stuff and I can just enjoy the darkness for what it is). There are plenty movies out there tackling demonic possession. A good many retread the same trodden area as the last, too many doing home to or straight copying from William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. The great horrors about supposed possessed people, and the entities possessing them, are few and far between. Another simply tries to mash too many things together, including too many changes in style, changes in tone, and the massive overuse of particular techniques that drive home the message that everything in this film tries too damn hard, paying off with nothing more than a couple fleeting moments worth watching.
A baby is carried by figures in black hoods and robes. A dark ceremony commences.
Cut to 18 years later. Jordyn (Paulie Redding) is celebrating her birthday with friends. Although, her Aunt Ruth (Nancy Wolfe) is being creepy. She brings up the fact Jordyn’s mother was at the same age as the daughter when she passed. Then Ruth goes ahead and stabs herself, screaming that “it‘s time.”
From that moment on, Jordyn finds her life changing. She spirals into a terrifying word of demonic possession, strange desire, and so much. Soon, Jordyn becomes aware that she may just be a relation of the devil himself.
The most grating thing about this movie is the fact half of it, at least, is filmed in slow-motion. Honestly, it is crazy. Never have I seen a technique so brutally beaten over the head of the viewer. At first before the slo-motion kicked in, I actually enjoyed the dark, sort of washed out look. But then it starts, and scene after scene is slowed down ridiculously, offering no sort of evidence it’s even used for a particular reason. Simply put, writer-director Jason Bognacki obviously couldn’t figure out a way to make it look unique, so he piled on the slow-motion. I hate to rag on a director so badly for something. It’s a really poor choice, though. The entire film drags on because of its overuse, and the repetition will just dull you to tears.
Even worse, there’s no practical work (re: effects) worth talking about. And I’m sorry to the filmmakers out there who may feel otherwise, but if you do a horror film especially and you have no practical makeup effects, instead opting to CGI things to death, then there’s no way I’m going to enjoy it. At least not to the point I’ll want to watch it again. Even if it’s half-and-half, I can dig that. In opposition to all that, Another goes for about 90% CGI and maybe, MAYBE, 10% practical. And those practical bits are so minute, I’m probably overselling it by saying there’s ten percent worth. Either way, even the CGI’d stuff looks bogus, including a terrible little showdown between two old women that could’ve been great yet comes off like some of the worst stuff from the 1980’s.
With a bunch of awful performances, a ton of terrible effects, as well as a story that meanders from one place to another trying to cram several sub-genres into one, Another a.k.a Mark of the Witch is one of the most unforgettable movies I’ve seen in ages. There was nothing I could find here worth the time it took to watch this dud. I’ve given it 1 single star, simply because I liked the beginning, the very end, and there’s a tiny scene after the credits which looks good. Other than that this is truly dreadful horror cinema. I never like to shit all over a film, but this one isn’t worth talking up in any sort of sense. Jason Bognacki tries his best, however, it’s almost as if he tried too hard, in too many different directions. Never does the film come together properly, which is a shame. As I said, I do love a good possession horror, or anything with the devil, witches, et cetera. This simply comes with nothing much for me to be impressed by, so I can’t push myself to try praising Bognacki, or anyone involved with the film. Want a better Mark of the Witch? Try the Mark of the Devil. Not at all the same, but whatever – better than wasting your time trying to slog through this unpolished bit of horror rubbish.