RISE OF THE GARGOYLES
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
Gargoyle (singular) is thwarted by a professor and two tabloid television journalists, and thus fails to rise in the plural at all. Whoops: spoiler alert.
Is it good movie?
Deep in the basement of a soon to be demolished church in Paris, two old miners with pickaxes (?) break through a thin brick wall and find a room that “isn’t in the plans”. This room appears to be an ancient Spencer’s Gifts, complete with shredded cheesecloth spider webs, plastic vacu-formed gargoyle novelties, and glowing Dino Eggs. After one of them receives The Keep treatment, the other flees, and the gargoyle is free. Now we have a movie. Enter Prof. Jack Randall, a ridiculously miscast Eric Balfour. The guy is younger than I am, but is supposed to be divorced with two kids, excommunicated from the US archaeological intelligentsia by writing a book suggesting that gargoyle statues were based on real animals.
Hence, it makes perfect sense that Randall would have to be literally dragged to aforementioned condemned church to peep out it’s architecture by his platonic gal pal, who performs the quintessential horror movie stupidity by leaving the church with an egg. After an unseen entity (the gargoyle, for the dumber readers) fails to break through a rickety wooden door, the two flee, and heads begin rolling. Literally: the creature’s favorite thing to do is bat people’s heads off like they are cat toys. Which admittedly is cool, even with an obviously fake body. Other characters are then introduced that are straight out of Hack Screenwriting For Dummies: the Parisian cop who thinks Randall is the killer; the two journalists who want a juicy story, but ultimately succumb to The Right Thing To Do; and the crazy priest with all the answers.
The special effects are the funniest thing in the movie. As judging by the previews preceding the film, RHI Pictures specializes in goofy Sy-Fy channel films (I will never forgive them for that odious name-change) with video game caliber-monsters. The things is, video games have pretty good graphics nowadays. So the gargoyle here doesn’t look terrible. However…the lighting needed to make it look good on film does not extend to in-camera action, so every other prop in the film looks fake as hell. I’ll forgive the obvious dummy falling from a roof or the obviously CGI blood mist when a chick loses her head, but I will not forgive your production assistants getting last minute set dressing at Hot Topic.
Ultimately, the direction and acting are all serviceable, if not the terrible cinematography and lackluster script (armor-piercing bullets can only kill the gargoyle once you hit it with a weak UV lamp and make it turn to stone). Bill Corcoran has a list of television credits as long as my arm, and I actually quite like Eric Balfour, and they both do their level best. Maybe if it had embraced its cheesiness more, had a little fun with the inane plot and dialog, I could have gotten on board with it. But, alas, it chose to be serious, and ends up as palatable as soggy Corn Flakes.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen shot on…can anyone guess? Yeah, video. Competently lit in regards to the CGI creatures, a disaster everywhere else.
Audio: Dolby Digital, sounds just fine.
None. Which is too bad. I would love to have an insight into what any of these people were thinking.
When the title credits came up and I wanted to press “-“ on my Wii remote to skip past the screen, I thought I was in luck. I thought I would have a campy, fun monster romp on my hands. Instead, I got a limp, poorly thought out waste of time. Solid work by Balfour (undoubtedly happy to be headlining), but a piss-poor script and half-assed lighting. I know that some people get off on the Sy-Fy monster run amok thing, and if so, I guess this is a decent enough effort into the lame genre. So, enjoy. For the rest of us, maybe not so much.