Winona Ryder, Ben Chaplin
Father James: They had their 2000 years. Now it’s our turn!
Apparently Satan has decided to take human form by inhabiting the body of Peter Kelson (Chaplin), an author who specializes in writing about serial killings. Maya (Ryder) is a teacher who was apparently possessed and exorcised when she was younger and now assists on similar exorcisms by the church where she works. She contacts Peter and together they must try to stop this evil transformation before Satan fully takes over Peter at the exact moment of his 33rd birthday.
This is one of those movies that keeps me constantly saying things like, “what?”, “huh?”, and “wait a second!” For instance, when Maya mentions that one of the reasons Peter was chosen to be this vessel for Satan is that he was never baptized, my first thought was, “well wait a second, why don’t they just baptize him now!??” I don’t recall any explanation for that one.
Another obvious thing about this one is that it isn’t just atmospheric, it’s been deep fried in atmosphere and is dripping it all over the place. From frame one, it’s dark and murky and very grey. I would have preferred for it to start out with a lighter tone, then delve into the darker atmosphere as the plot gets darker, dragging us down into the darkness with it. Instead, the attempt at dread wears thin pretty quickly.
Ryder and Chaplin are both good in their roles, especially Chaplin as his sense of paranoia and uneasiness grows. Unfortunately, the story they’re in just doesn’t make much sense and certainly isn’t scary. There are a few interesting ideas and moments, but overall, it’s not good or bad enough to recommend.
That Satan, he sure keeps a tight schedule. And he’s nothing if not punctual.
10 – 2 for a nonsense plot – 2 for too much atmosphere – 1 for not being scary + .3 for good performances = 5.3