A bullied teen attending a military school decides to become a devil-worshiper intent on taking revenge on those that have wronged him. Those might seem like drastic lengths to jump to just because some punks are picking on you, but the decision didn’t seemingly take any forethought. Actually, the decision was entirely internal, as there is no dialogue of the decision being made. He begins a scene making vows to the devil and we’re left to accept that this is now a thing in the movie. Ron Howard’s brother Clint plays the main character, and after sitting through his performance in “Ice Cream Man” I figured I could sit through anything. Well I was wrong – NOW I can sit through anything.
The movie opens with a man being exiled hundreds of years ago for being a devil-worshiping cult leader, and then jumps to some kids playing football at a military school. We learn early on that Clint Howard’s character is the target of bullying from his classmates, teachers and even an old drunk Major that sleeps in the basement below the church. The bullying starts out innocent enough with the kids throwing his hat out of a window causing him to be out of uniform, or breaking his project for his engineering class causing him to get a failing grade, but it quickly escalates – and I mean quickly. It becomes apparent that, while being out of uniform or having a broken project doesn’t sound that bad, the teachers and administration in charge of punishing him carry out far too harsh of a punishment in response. For instance, the punishment for his engineering project being broken (which he didn’t do) was to be sent to the administrator’s office to be beaten with a belt. These aren’t little kids, either, but nearly grown teenage young men.
It is during one of his punishments that Clint discovers he’s into devil-worshiping. After being told to clean the basement of the church, he discovers a bunch of occult paraphernalia laying around, presumably belonging to the cult leader from the beginning of the film. Without hesitation, he starts lighting candles and reading texts in an effort to summon the lord of the dead. This appears to be more of an outlet for Clint to relieve stress after being picked on, as he doesn’t seem to believe too much in what he’s doing. This changes when the bullies break into the church and find his occult room in the basement – as well as his puppy. The bullies think it would be funny to sacrifice the puppy on the altar, so, while their dates plead with them to reconsider, they stab the puppy. Clint stumbles in hours later and finds his canine companion bleeding and hiding under the bed in a mess of red and cloth, picks him up, and starts crying. This scene was very hard to watch. The whole movie was campy and boring up until this point, then it felt too real. I think it’s because I can picture bullies doing this in real life and thinking it’s funny – it’s not.
Well, it was at this point that Clint completely loses himself to the devil-worshiping hobby he’d undertaken. The administrator that beat him earlier in the movie finds Clint in the church basement and Clint wastes no time in breaking his neck and sacrificing him. This act allows not the devil but the occult leader from hundreds of years ago to possess Clint’s body. The scene then goes full “Carrie” when Clint levitates through the floor of the Church and starts telekinetic-ally throwing objects around the room, impaling anyone in his path. He then summons a bunch of pigs to eat some of the people in the church, while burning others with an apparent new pyrokinetic ability. It’s hard to feel sorry for his victims when they’ve spent the entire movie building up how bad these people treated him. Maybe don’t bully people and you won’t end up pig food?
Once everyone is dead, the screen freezes and we get text on the screen in some weird font explaining how Clint is now in a mental institution and a cryptic warning about the day he’ll soon return. This leaves me confused as I don’t understand if he has all of these abilities, why would he willingly get locked up? It’s like the filmmakers had no idea how to end the movie once he finally got all of his powers. It was reminiscent of “The Last Exorcism 2” when she walks down the street just setting cars on fire. I’m left sitting in my chair wondering, “Okay, then what happened?”
This movie is…
The whole things moves way too slowly and once it finally picks up, it’s over. You’d be better off spending your evening on another 80’s horror movie.
Cheers and goodnight.
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