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Askew Review 15

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(Anchor Bay)1998. Horror. Not rated, gore, violence. A million years ago (not really), crusaders annihilated a small village thinking they were devil worshippers and that they had a contagion that would infect others. After dumping the bodies in a grave, a huge church was built on the tomb to keep the evilness in place. However, a million years later (not really), the tomb is accidentally cracked open and the sickness escapes. As designed by the church’s architect, once the tomb’s seal is broken, the Church automatically closes itself up to keep the “contagion” inside. However, not only is the contagion closed in, but so are a bunch of church goers.
         This movie is not a train wreck. This movie is not a disaster. This movie is a train wreck of a disaster. Italian horror maestro Dario Argento produced and co-wrote this movie, co-wrote is the key word here. This movie plays out like two different movies spliced together somewhere in the middle. The first half of the movie is about the crusaders, the killings, and the history of the church. There are basically only two characters dealt with during the first half of the movie. However, come the second half of the movie, the two characters from the first half disappear, till the end, and a whole new batch of characters enter the picture. After all the character development concerning the first two people, there is zero development concerning the second half crew. Total mess. It was like Argento wrote one half, and the other co-writer wrote the second half without ever talking about things. To be honest, the beginning of the movie was slow moving, but the story was pretty good and I really thought it was leading someplace good. Nope. The writing in the second half of the movie is especially weak. At one point, a woman in the church is gruesomely killed, but nobody really seems to care or make mention of it afterwards. Not even the twelve or so school children stuck in the church seem bothered by it! To cap this train wreck of a disaster off, the gore is lame and will have you laughing, if anything else. Not surprising at all is the fact there are a ton of loose ends that are never addressed and left dangling out there for no reason. Wait, there is a reason. It’s called bad writing. – Denis Sheehan          



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