Sunday, November 11, 2012

REVIEW: 11-11-11: The Prophecy (2011)

Back in January, I reviewed a steaming, festering disaster of a movie called 11/11/11, made by The Asylum. It was a complete and total waste of my time. The Asylum’s penchant for making terrible ripoffs of Hollywood blockbusters just infuriated me back then. So, I figured, why not take a look at the original film, the one that inspired this to begin with…and I use the term ‘inspired’ loosely.

Director: Darren Lynn-Bousman
Starring: Timothy Gibbs, Michael Landes, Wendy Glenn

Yes, from the visionary brain of the second, third and fourth SAW movies, Darren Lynn Bousman, comes this little gem, 11-11-11: The Prophecy…and I do mean little, as this thing is only 82 minutes, and it shows. I mean, this thing has got to be the worst example of super-obvious cutting of a movie down to size I’ve ever seen. I bet the director’s cut is like a totally different movie. But then again, why would I want to see any more of this shit than I did tonight? I think 82 minutes was about 82 minutes too much for this. But it’s one thing to talk about it and quite another to actually witness it, so let’s just do that, shall we?

The movie begins with our main character Joseph Crone, a writer whose family was killed in a home invasion, and so now he sees choppy, annoying visions of fire and angel statues everywhere…get used to it; it’s all throughout the movie.

"AH! Man, I really hope I don't have any more flashbacks to The Omen sequels in my dreams...that would be terrible..."

Mostly this character is just crap. He constantly whines and complains all the time and a lot of the film’s runtime is his super-serious deep diary recollections, which is cool because all I ever want out of a thriller movie is the pretentious “dark” narrations of an obvious self-centered asshole like this character is. Oh, please, more of that! By the way, the editing in this movie is just atrocious, being compiled mostly of quick jump cuts that serve no purpose but to ham-fistedly show the passage of time…instead it’s just like the editing room had a collective seizure.

He goes to some grief counseling group where a woman is speaking about getting through loss. She approaches him afterwards and gives him a notebook, and then he gets into a car crash. He somehow survives this and goes on to mope some more about that – yes, he even bitches about not dying, because this character is so tortured and pained that only death could cure it! He gets a voicemail at home almost immediately after telling him that his father is going to die in a few days. Man, this guy just doesn’t get much luck. What’s next, is he going to get cancer? Is he going to get blackmailed by a Russian mafia boss into working as a male sex slave? Don't stop short of TRUE HUMAN SUFFERING, movie!

The irony of a character who wants to die not being able to, however, is funny enough to almost make up for it.

So it turns out his family home is in Barcelona, Spain, even though his brother and father are as white as can be and none of them is really shown speaking Spanish much in the film. That makes no sense, and was clearly just put in there to give Bousman an excuse to shoot in Spain. It doesn’t matter where this story takes place and setting it in Spain just doesn’t make any logical sense given the situation the characters are in. They lived in the US but then moved to Spain when Joseph was a kid, only for Joseph to grow up and leave Spain and come to England as an adult? Tell me how that couldn’t have been simpler. I know it’s a petty thing to bitch about, but…it’s just so silly!

It turns out Joseph has a brother, Samuel, who is in a wheelchair. So not only did he lose his wife and child to a crazy murderer, get into a car accident and now his father is dying, BUT ALSO he has a brother in a wheelchair? Jesus! You know, there IS a limit to how much suffering is realistic, you know! This just comes off like they were trying to cram in as many horrible things to do to these people as possible. It’s totally hackneyed, and feels incredibly half-assed.

The father is lying in bed about to die, but that doesn’t stop him from sitting up and doing a silly scene where he speaks in a goofy voice about how everyone is watching - my god, the movie's become self aware! Run for your lives!

That face...ha ha ha...that's gotta be the only funny thing in this whole damn movie.

There’s also a nurse lady named Ana whose only job seems to be making shitty jump scares. If you think that’s scary, though, just wait until you see Samuel’s church service, in which people can apparently just show up randomly with guns and try to attack the pastors…eh, no big deal.

Aw, poor guy...he just is extremely sensitive...

No, really, apparently it’s no big deal. That’s what Samuel says. “Oh, he’s been under a lot of stress lately,” is his rationale for being OK with a member of his congregation pulling a gun on him. DUDE. HE PULLED A GUN ON YOU. WAKE UP. What’s going to happen next time? “Oh, he stabbed me seven times and then raped and murdered my girlfriend? He’s just going through a hard time. Don’t fret it.”

Joseph spends a large amount of time in the next few scenes just bashing Christianity and bitching about how his childhood sucked. Because his wife and kid got murdered, he has lost his faith in God – that’s understandable. But what isn’t understandable is the sheer jackassery he displays by constantly acting like a dick to the people who care about him. This guy is just a douchebag! If you think your own pain and grief is an excuse to be rude and insensitive to everyone else, you lose the right to grieve, asshole. Go sit in the corner.

After that is over, we see another trademark of this movie: fast, jerky-camera action scenes with tons of quick cuts and screaming. Because if you don’t have that, your movie just can’t be scary at all. Who cares about atmosphere or tension build up? Just have Rob Zombie-esque puke-worthy camera cuts and lots of screaming to nauseate the viewers further. That’s the true way of horror.

Supernatural visions that don't really mean anything? Yup it's a crappy modern horror flick.

If that isn’t enough, Joseph then starts to notice a pattern that everything bad happens to him involves the number 11:11 – when his wife and kid died, when his brother got attacked, and the time displayed on a crazy looking video that is probably the next Paranormal Activity movie:

I will also accept 'Blair Witch 3: The Stupidity of Idiots Who Think Random Fog Means Something.' Well, OK, I guess that title could use some trimming down.

The real cincher – the real gem – here is the following scene, which consists of Joseph saying that he now believes that celestial beings from beyond are controlling everything through the numbers 11:11:11. Yes. The same man who has been ALL MOVIE denouncing Christianity is now believing in this crazy shit. “Your belief in God is silly, BUT I BELIEVE IN MYSTICAL BEINGS AND NUMBERS REAPPEARING!” I…I just can’t even follow this now. It makes no sense. It has no logic. There is NO REASON WHATSOEVER that this should have progressed beyond the drawing board.

So Joseph goes over to that one crazy guy’s house, the one who pulled a gun on Samuel at the service. His wife says he’s troubled and has been reading about dark magic and stuff. Uh, movie, I’m not sure you’re really focusing on the right thing here. This man pulls guns on innocent people. He should be locked up until he is of sounder mind. That’s all there is to it! Joseph gets a hold of the guy’s camera which apparently has some crazy stuff on it, and has to go develop it. At the camera shop, it really makes sense that he can’t speak Spanish to the employees and instead impatiently shouts at them in slow enunciated English like they're retards, because it’s not like he grew up there or anything…oh wait, he did…

Then he gets a call from that British stalker chick, who flies all the way to Sweden to meet him even though they don’t really know a thing about each other. Life is just dandy! I love the first scene she’s in with Samuel. Joseph comes in in the morning and finds them sitting together at the table. Samuel says she just popped in and he was telling her about the break in the other night. Yeah, really – hey, random stranger, come in and let me tell you about the break-in we had the other not. God, this movie is shit. It’s not even any big problems really – it’s a bunch of little, silly things like this that build up and fester over time.

There’s a scene where the father gives Joseph some hokey ‘mystical’ speech about how he has to protect his brother, which apparently is more than enough to get him to renounce his atheism (and…weird voodoo crap he believed in with the 11/11/11 thing) and convert to Christianity! I guess he really was just blowing hot smoke this whole time…heh heh…the father then dies and the first thing Joseph does is take the British chick out to walk in a maze! There they encounter the crazy guy again and he points a gun at them some more…it’s OK, he’s just going through a hard time.

"My father just died! Let's go walk around town and have some alone time together instead of staying at the house, comforting my crippled brother and waiting for the ambulance to arrive."

Joseph goes back to the crazy gun-wielding guy’s house again and breaks in, looking for more evidence, until the movie goes all David Lynch again and starts giving us psychedelic camera angles as Joseph gets shot. Finally. Can he please just die now? No, because that would destroy the movie’s outlet for piss-poor whining and faux-dark speeches about inner pain…he is fine apparently.

Was this guy's entire job description 'hold a gun at the main character'? Seriously. It's getting old.
Good to know that when you get shot, you don't die but rather just see visions of your dead family members standing in front of the DVD cover to the movie.

Then Joseph goes to get the photos and we don’t get to see what they are, but that’s cool because back at home, the demons are attacking. There’s a lot of running around in the dark, screaming, odd camera angles where you can’t see the action, and screaming. It’s mostly a big unwatchable mess and there’s nothing to be gained from it. Our final climax is when Joseph saves Samuel from being stabbed by the demonic creatures, and ends up finally dying…that’s right, a car crash couldn’t kill him and getting shot couldn’t kill him – it was like he was so wretched a character that even the Grim Reaper was like “dude, no!” – but getting stabbed once kills him. Make sense? No? Good!

Oh, I forgot to mention that these demonic creatures are a) never explained and b) looking a lot like Pinhead's retarded cousins who he sits far away from at family dinners.

Then we get the aftermath, in which the brother Samuel turns out to be evil along with everyone else in the film…they start a new religion based around Joseph dying. You know, it’s not exactly a BAD twist or anything but we all knew SOMEONE was evil anyway, and there wasn’t really a whole lot of options. And what exactly are we supposed to take away from this? One unlikable asshole dies, so a freaky cult starts a new religion. So what? Are they going to destroy the world or something? Infiltrate the highest forms of government in the country? Or maybe they’ll just have tea and crumpets. Either option is equally likely.

This is a terrible, stupid movie and I can’t see how anyone would enjoy it. There’s just nothing good about it, from the piece of shit main character to the vapid storyline and rushed, haphazard editing style. 11-11-11 is so bad that I think there ought to be an end-of-world prophecy made around THIS shitty movie. “And on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a godawful movie will arise, and it will be spawned from the creative black hole that made the SAW sequels…and the heavens wept in fear.”

Yeah, that sounds about right.

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