Sunday, February 27, 2011

Horror Film Review

The Eighteenth Angel (1998):  Sort of Suspiria meets The Omen meets Rosemary's Baby, this Satan-worshipping shocker unexpectedly found its way into my TV via late night surfing through movie channels.  I'd never heard of it and it's not nearly as good as any of the other three, but I didn't switch stations or fall asleep.  There is that. 

How to explain the plot without it sounding utterly bonkers...there's this huge clock and when one hand strikes 18 and the other, ok.  How about, an ancient order of monks in Italy must kill and surgically remove the faces of 18 beautiful children so that, hold on.  Let me try it this way:  a woman goes to interview big-shot monk visiting the U.S. named Father Simeon (Maximilian Schell).  His lackey takes over her mind and she jumps to her death.  Her daughter Lucy (Rachael Leigh Cook) is then approached to become a model and go on a photo shoot.  In Italy.  Her music professor Dad (Christopher McDonald) says  no...until he is approached to apply his expertise to some recently discovered works that also, coincidentally, are in Italy. 

They're quartered in a guest house in the middle of nowhere in the shadow of a freaky huge monastery.  Turns out Lucy, who is quite beautiful, is the 18th and final "angel" required to fill an Etruscan prophecy that states Lucifer will return as beauty instead of beast.  In other words, she's going to be the vessel Lucifer uses to return to our world.  Why these psycho monks needed to kidnap, kill, and slice the faces off 17 other kids went right over my head.  I'm sure there was a good reason, though.  In the end, the monks get their hands on Lucy, Dad rushes to her rescue, and everything goes to hell.  So to speak.


Acting:  Overly moody and melodramatic.  Maximilian Schell is sufficiently evil with a crazed look in his eye and reptilian smile on his lips.  That dude has always given me the creeps.  Stanley Tucci was wasted (his talent, I mean...he wasn't drunk). 
Story:  What you might call "recycled."  You see bits of many other horror flicks here, but as it is ostensibly a Satan-breaking-out-of-hell tale, it will always be interesting. 
Direction:  Weird.  Lazy and frenetic at the same time.  I didn't get that lovely sense of impending catastrophe as with movies like Rosemary's Baby.  Pity. 
Production Values:  Average Hollywood quality.  Nice location shots.  The lightning was silly, though.  With a budget of $25 million, they could have had better lightning. 
Gore/FX:  Fair amount of blood but could have used a lot more gore.  The problem, though, is that most of the violence was aimed at the 17 kids and they couldn't show that, even if the movie is rated R. 
Ending:  Annoying.  Dumb.  One of those you seem to invariably run into when dealing with a Satan-themed film.  Oh, they live, but...ah, you know. 
Verdict:  Should you see The Eighteenth Angel?  Eh.  If you run across it flipping through your 15,000 Starz and Encore channels and have nothing better to do for 95 minutes, go for it.

My Rating:  2 out of 5

Now, I did watch Machete this weekend as well and am debating whether to do a full blown review or not.  It's not a horror movie, but...oh my goodness for the wonderful blood.  How about this, if you'd like to see a full review of Machete, add a comment and let me know.


  1. Hi - guess everyone else is shy?
    Bring it on - a review of Machete. It has blood,don't it? That's close enough to qualify.

  2. That's what I'm thinking.
    It has some very good blood.
    Thanks for responding.