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Saturday, May 29, 2010

THE FALLING -- movie review by porfle

Archangels come to Earth to do battle once again with the minions of Lucifer in THE FALLING (2006), only this time they aren't allowed to get directly involved so they recruit a human cop named Grayson (Scott Gabelein) to get jiggy with Ol' Scratch. And since the budget is practically non-existent, we get home-video-level cinematography, acting that's not all that hot, and long stretches of dull dialogue between a few action scenes. On the plus side, some of this almost accidentally manages to be mildly entertaining.

At least everyone involved takes it seriously and seems to be trying their best. The main archangel, Michael (Rory Colin Fretland), who looks a bit like a clean-shaven Ron Jeremy with icy-blue contacts, reveals the existence of a lost book of the Bible--"The Proclamation of Michael"--to a priest named Father McQueen (Donovan Marley). It tells of a coming war between the forces of God and Lucifer which will decide the fate of Mankind forever and all that. Big L himself (Michael Ayden) shows up looking like a nattily-dressed male model, calls himself Eric Laceon, and goes around sneering at the archangels and putting the moves on Grayson's sister Kristy (Tellier Killaby). After struggling with his faith for awhile, Grayson finally mans up enough to go mano-a-mano with Lucifer in a field somewhere with the archangels solemnly looking on.

Writer-director Nicholas Gyeney tries to make some of the dialogue scenes seem more kinetic by whipping the camera back and forth between characters, which just gives the direction a haphazard look. When Grayson takes on Lucifer's motley minions, Gyeney (with his editor's hat on) does a pretty good job of piecing together the snippets of action to make them flow. He also comes up with some fairly cool images here and there, such as the scene in which Lucifer stands on a dock and brings forth a couple of naked goons from the boiling water of a lake. As this is his first time as a director, Gyeney may have the potential for better films in his future.

The acting, on the whole, is pretty amateurish. Gabelein has his moments as Grayson, and Ayden is somewhat effective as a low-key Lucifer, especially when he's filling an uncertain Grayson's ears with persuasive lies and half-truths. Fretland's "Michael", on the other hand, looks as though he's been scarfing a little too much angel food cake, and the rest of the archangels seem to have been recruited from a bus stop somewhere. Marley is pretty good as Father McQueen, who gets kidnapped by the bad guys early on and makes a surprise reappearance at the end. Justin Dillon and Jason Thayer are adequately vile as Lucifer's lackeys Belial and Leviathan.

The story takes forever to get going, and after what feels like an endless amount of build-up the movie's already almost over. What's more, the ending is so wide-open and full of loose ends that it practically screams "continued in next movie." While THE FALLING isn't all that bad for a no-budget actioner, I'm not sure I'm all that excited about a sequel.

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