Bad Movies Beware!
Back in action after a hiatus, and this is what I get?
I figured a good return after a vacation should be heralded by something unique. Something a little off-kilter, maybe a cult-classic or something. I mean, really, people, what screams “cult” better than a flick called The Brotherhood of Satan?
Wrong kind of cult.
Turns out, this movie really doesn’t have much of a cult following at all, and what following it does have isn’t substantial enough to even really put it in the obscurities bargain bin past 2002, which was when the DVD I landed was made.
The film opens with a toy tank rolling around and making a manner of noise. Before we know it, a car full of people is crushed by a real tank, and a little boy leaves the aftermath carrying his toy tank.
Sooo… the toy became a real tank. I guess. Maybe?
Too early in. Let’s keep rolling.
The boy climbs the hill next to the wreckage and meets up with two little girls and another boy. One of the girls is holding a music box, and she begins to glow. Cue title sequence because, yeah, that whole deal totally screamed cult of Satanists hunting kids.
We cut to a birthday party for no apparent reason and then to a beach where we see the two adults from the party making out before they get busted by a little girl. Turns out, the lovers are Ben and his girlfriend, Nicky. The little girl is K.T., Ben’s little girl he’s been raising since his wife died in a car accident.
Of course, this is a minor detail we get much later in the film, but I’ll get to that. Later. Yeah.
The family laughs it all off and hits the road for a montage that takes FAR too long. The driving sequence is literally three full minutes of them being the “Average American Family” in the car on a long trip doing nothing but sharing the occasional smile and listening to the Easy Listening station on the damned radio.
Around time marker 8:20, we finally get a little action when they pull up on the wreckage from the tank in the opening sequence. The family goes into town to report it and finds out that they are the first to be able to cross the town line in the past 72 hours.
From there, the film goes into a slew of disjointed scenes that don’t really add up until about the last thirty minutes or so. We have a group of old people in a creepy house, who are obviously Satanists, and it comes to light after a few scenes that they’re taking the children of the town.
In one scene, we see a brother and sister come under a trance after the sister’s doll comes to life and kills their parents. The kids leave the house and join up with the other children who are making their way toward the house.
Ben, Nicky, and K.T. go to the sheriff’s office to hole up for the evening. The sheriff begs Ben for help, along with the local doc and the priest. The doc, we find out early on, is actually the leader of the Satanic cult.
So much for the nasty twist.
Ben declines, and the sheriff gives him a car to use to leave town. The trio doesn’t get far before the car breaks down and K.T. goes missing. Ben and Nicky return to town and agree to help the sheriff find the kids.
The group splits up, and we cut to a scene where a little boy leaves his house. The father follows, and the priest watches as a horseman rides out and decapitates the father. The priest loses his s**t completely and ends up out of commission for the rest of the movie. Ben and the sheriff find a toy horseman with blood on his sword, and the priest freaks all over again.
The group eventually finds the house and breaks in, but not before the Satanists complete the ritual: the hooded monks kill them all off so that they may transfer their souls to the children and live forever. The heroes manage to kick in the door, and film ends as all of the children stare at them, all of them now possessed by the Satanic cult.
The lackluster end.
VERDICT: I HAVE A HEADACHE.
What. The. Hell.
Now, I don’t want to completely s**t all over this movie because it does have a rather intelligent outlook on what can happen right under our noses without us even realizing it. But what undermines this is that it’s a cliché, really, for all movies that have Satanic themes. The House of the Devil, The Lords of Salem, hell, even The Exorcist for the majority of the first and second acts.
So, because of that, this movie ends up being quite the giraffe turd.
The acting is abysmal, the lines forced from wooden characters like a splinter out of an ingrown toenail. The kids are actually the worst part, and I’m not holding back on them because I’ve seen kids that age give AMAZING performances. Linda Blair was awesome in The Exorcist, and the kids in the original The Amityville Horror with James Brolin were also very good.
The real culprit on this movie, honestly, was the writing. The story just dragged out like Ben Stein giving a lecture on plant reproduction. Watching a mass sea sponge migration would be more entertaining than watching the opening montage of Ben and company on their trip. That and we find out from K.T. that the family is on their way to see her grandmother for her birthday almost two thirds into the film.
So, by that rationale, we’re supposed to believe that they happened across this little town out of nowhere because, in all the times they’ve visited Granny Dearest, they’ve NEVER noticed a little town in the middle of nowhere?
“But maybe they’ve been estranged.”
Then tell me that.
Also, the ending, frankly, is lackluster and really has no shock value whatsoever. In fact, it pretty much turns this pile of crap into a “day-in-the-life-of” film. The bad guys win. Hey, I get it. Trying to be “edgy” because we want the good guys to win. “Let’s shock the audience!”
Wanna shock me? Show me a world where a man can avoid back hair.
Then again, would the good guys winning have made a great ending to this film? Not likely. Really, not any more likely than Scarlett Johansson showing up at my house to go out to the pub with me.
“How would you have done it then, Fail-Flix?”
I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED!!
Why not a little of both? Why not have the heroes burst in and win the fight against the Satanists, but not before things went slightly south. Which children got possessed? Which came out okay? Leave us asking THAT question. Not “Oh well, guess all the kids are screwed.” Did K.T. make it? Is she acting weird because she’s possessed or just traumatized? Some of the kids are alright-alright-alright, but which ones?
Give me some mystery, damn it.
I’m gonna go ahead and give this one 5 Piles of S**t. The only thing that saves it from the one last pile of fecal fun is that the audio and visuals were not bad for the day and age. Great effects, great camerawork, and top-notch audio on a low-budget film. Otherwise, leave it to rot.
to the 5th power