Monday, July 10, 2017

Film Review: The Church (1989)

The Church (Review)
Italy/1989
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...by the second half, the film feels more like it's focused more on its visuals than its plot, and that's a little disappointing."

In medieval Germany, the Teutonic Knights slaughter a village of suspected witches and build a church over their grave. In the present, the church's librarian discovers and opens the grave, leading to deadly consequences...

The Church begins in medieval Germany. The Teutonic Knights are led to a group of suspected witches, which leads them to massacre an entire village. When they're done, they bury the dead and build a church over them, hoping to seal their evil for eternity. I loved this introduction, so I wish the plot spent more time on it. Anyway, fast forward to the present and the church is still standing. Evan, the new librarian, eventually discovers a crypt in the catacombs of the church. Of course, being curious, he breaks the seals and unleashes a horde of evil spirits. The film started to lose me during the second half, where the plot shifts focus to a group of generic characters who become trapped in the church. It starts explaining less, which is both good and bad. On one hand, I like the ominous and ambiguous atmosphere. On the other, it can feel like it's all over the place. The ending was okay, too.


The Church is an interesting film. As I already stated, I loved the introduction and I think the concept is great. The first half of the film is genuinely interesting and entertaining, too. That's not to say the second half is bad or anything like that, it's just not as focused. I suppose that was part of the film's purpose, though—it's supposed to be surreal. The thing is: by the second half, the film feels more like it's focused more on its visuals than its plot, and that's a little disappointing. It's like meeting the most beautiful person in the world only to find out said person has the personality of a brick. It's a case of style of story. Of course, the visuals are superb and they are important to the plot, but it's just not enough. The death scenes are fantastic, though.

The acting was hit-or-miss. Some of the actors were fine, others were stiff and unnatural. The dialogue was also unusual. The film was shot well. I liked the music, too. If you're a fan of practical effects, I think you'll enjoy the death scenes in this film. The film was written by Dario Argento, Michele Soavi, and Franco Ferrini; Soavi also directs. The writing and the direction could have used some fine-tuning. I understand that certain elements are supposed to be jarring, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm referring to the pace and the actual plot. The second half of the film simply doesn't match the consistency of the first half.

Overall, The Church is a good movie. If you like Italian horror, I think you'll enjoy this film. You might not love it, but it's more than serviceable and it's a solid time killer.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some nudity and sex.

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