The Devil’s Tomb... Sealed Evil In A Can
The Devil’s Tomb: 4 out of 10: Not since “Killer Flood: The Day the Dam Broke" has a movie’s title rendered about eighty percent of the plot development mute. Dumbass spoiler alert… Hey, the mysterious underground archeological site turns out to be a tomb. Whose tomb you ask? (IN MY BEST CHURCH LADY VOICE) “Could it be Satan???”.
Okay so The Devil's Tomb is a remake of Prince of Darkness, but instead of Donald Pleasence we have the Space Marines from Aliens after a tragic mass lobotomization. Now I do realize that not every single American soldier is a fully-fledged genius; but honestly how any of these thunderheads managed to make it through basic training without throwing the pin is anyone's guess. (When you pull a pin on a grenade, you theoretically have a choice to throw one of two things. Most people choose the grenade part.) The characterization of the soldiers is simply not believable. This starts the film on a shaky foundation from which it never fully recovers. Not that things improves all that much when the mumbo-jumbo starts.
This is a shame because the acting is overall up to the task. Now when you have Cuba Gooding Jr., Ray Winstone, Ron Perlman and even Taryn Manning (who really surprised me with a fun performance.); you are going to have the potential for some decent acting. Throw in a fun Henry Rollins as a priest of all things and an over the top performance by Bill Moseley and you have one of the best-acted B movies this year. In a large cast only only Franky G drops the ball, in a horribly written role, as the dumb muscle.
The direction is by Jason Connery, who is best known* as the voice of Bennington in the TV Series "Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action!”. The direction is serviceable, though he really needed a military adviser on set; or, at the very least, someone who has played paintball. The poor soldiers did not seem to know what to do with their rifles and kept pointing them at each other. In addition, if you are firing a kill shot you may want to line it up AWAY from the hostage.
Special effects and set design are competent. Heck there is even a lesbian subplot that threatens to make the movie interesting (Though the script drops the ball on that as well.) If you can get through the first twenty minutes without your eyes rolling out of your head, The Devil’s Tomb becomes a collection of interesting performances looking for a purpose. And figuring out who is buried in the Devil’s Tomb will not keep most people entertained. (And no it isn’t Ulysses S Grant).
*He is also the son of Scottish actor Sean Connery who played the old Spaniard in the Highlander movies during the Eighties.
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