God Told Me To
The Skinny: A detective investigates the link in a series of mass murders where each killer cites his motive as "God told me to."
The Review: Another film in the "Fright Night" box set, God Told Me To presents a ballsy premise: not only are mass murderers claiming that their actions are mandated by God... but they might actually be right. Man, if anyone made a movie with that premise today, you'd hear the sphincters of our friends in Vatican City tightening up from clear across the ocean.
Tony Lo Bianco plays the detective investigating these murders, the first of which occurs when a sniper climbs a water tower and starts pegging seemingly random targets in downtown Manhattan. When the detective tries to reason with him and find out the motive for this crime, the killer smiles serenely and says "God Told Me To" just before jumping to his death.
This really rattles our good detective hero, because we find out soon afterward that he's a very devout Catholic. And when more murders start happening with the killers claiming the same motive... well, let's just say Mister Detective Guy ain't a happy camper.
This 90 minute flick can easily be broken up into three half-hours. The first half hour presents us with the premise and gives us a meaty storyline in which we see the detective struggling to keep his faith while investigating these murders. In the second half hour, the story takes a slightly different turn when we learn something else the killers have in common: they all talked to the same blond-haired man shortly before their crimes, and this man has connections to a secret organization. But in the third half hour, we're presented with a REALLY far out plot twist that comes completely out of nowhere. Unfortunately, it pretty much undoes the drama we've witnessed to this point and merely serves as a plot device to ensure a good guy/bad guy showdown on equal terms at the end.
I dug the concept of a Catholic cop whose faith is challenged by his job, even though Lo Bianco tended to overact on occasion by SCREAMING when it wasn't NECESSARY. Still, it's his movie all the way (since none of the supporting cast gets more than 10 minutes on screen time), and he pulls it off admirably. And the basic plot kicked ass all over the place... at least for the first hour. But that last half hour.... *shudder*.
Director Larry Cohen does a serviceable job, but nothing special. The flick has that "made for TV" look that you pretty much expect from films of the 70s. Hell, even Cronenberg's early stuff has that look to it. It was just the style of the time, I guess.
This ain't the movie to get if you're looking for gore. We get a bunch of shootings (with most of them looking like the victims are getting hit with paintball pellets), a couple of stabbings and a pretty lame throat slash. There's some brief female nudity too, because this movie was made in the 70s and it was the law back then. But God Told Me To ain't about the FX or the T&A, it's about the story. And it's a damn good one... as long as you stop watching an hour into it.
5 out of 10, after a 3 point deduction for a crappy third act.
Good review but in my opinion you went a little easy on the movie, I thought it was ok but not great by any means. But of course, when yu pay $20 for 10 movies anything with anything going for it is worth the price.
Andy Kaufman plays a police officer in this in a hilarious cameo.
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