Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Church

The Church (a.k.a. Demons 3 – not Demons 3: The Ogre, the other one. The other one that’s not Black Demons) opens with a band of knights massacring an entire village and building a church overtop of the corpses, and then spends an hour and a half showing that this was exactly the right thing for them to have done. It’s uncommon to find a movie so willing to make its heroes a pack of vicious thugs.

Fast forward to the present day, and an exploration is being done of the basement of the church, which seems curious when at least one elderly priest at the church is familiar with the legend surrounding the place (though he later goes crazy and tries to end the world, so maybe this isn’t so strange after all). The church’s new librarian manages to find an underground cave where something possesses him and starts to turn him into a demon, and before long the church has been sealed off and it's now a race against time for one lone priest to stop all the demons before they escape and destroy the world~!!!

This film, by Argento protégé Michele Soavi (yes, the guy that did Cemetery Man), was originally intended to be the official Demons 3. For reasons I do not know, Lamberto Bava (the director of the first two Demons films) instead made the terrible TV movie Demons 3: the Ogre, leaving this one to remain an unofficial sequel, despite stylistically being an obvious continuation of the series. We have people getting possessed when injured, everyone trapped in a confined space, and tons of needless yet wonderful gore. Compare that with the official Demons 3, where we get one monster that doesn’t really show up until the end of the film, and possesses and frightens nobody at all. I’m still not certain how Umberto Lenzi’s Black Demons factors into this, outside of Italians being absolutely shameless at ripping off popular franchises (see Lucio Fulci’s “official” Dawn of the Dead sequel Zombie). Regardless, of the three Demons 3 films, this is the only one at all worth watching.

If you’re a big fan of Italian horror, then you already know what you’re in store for here: great visuals, lots of blood, a fine mix of heavy overacting and thoroughly wooden underacting, and a fairly incoherent plot to help you along the way. Seriously, you can just watch it safe in the knowledge that pretty much an entire class of schoolchildren is wiped out by demons. And who can’t get behind something like that?

Also, the main characters totally fucks the Devil in it.

Rating: ***

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