Chronicle of the Raven (2004)
Director: Daniel De La Vega
Faye Dunaway/Mary Ellen
A hot Yankee dame (Phillips) returns to her Europe based family estate after the mysterious death of her twin sister. Once there, she dreams of flesh chipping ravens and gets seriously ill while suspecting that her oh so nail-able Grandmother is behind it all.
This made in Argentina horror flick reminded of this little snippet of memory: I was once sitting at a terrace having drinks with some friends. In walks a stunning and uber confident blonde with ample bobble and a shorter than my credit line skirt. She was a vision of arrogance yet arresting beauty……but then out of the blue she tripped on her left high heel and fell flat on her dumbfounded face. The illusion was broken.
Chronicle of the Raven did the exact same thing, it strolled in with polished cinematography, a potentially riveting storyline and some “name actors” and then it tripped on its left high heel and fell face first on the asphalt, making a total fool of itself.
The first sign of trouble with this flick was the poor fear sequence that opened it. All posturing, semi incoherent
(via shoddy editing) and lacking skills, I wasn’t scared or "pulled in" for a micro second. Then the clumsy unraveling of events kicked in with the script playing the redundant card and not being fair with its audience. This is not how smart or real people would handle a situation like this! It actually even felt like the actors in the film didn’t believe in what was going down; hence imagine what my stance was on it. The lead
dame (played the hot Gina Phillips) suffered the most in that department. For example; what do you do when you hear a bump in the night and there’s a lamp right next to ya? Turn on the lamp right? Not this broad, she’ll wave her arms aimlessly in pitch darkness
like a tweaked up chipmunk instead. Sadly, more incidents of that sort occurred throughout the film making our heroine look like an utter idiot. Pouring a huge barrel of baby oil all over her naked flesh and forcing her to wrestle with Carmen Electra crossed my mind. All that to snap her out of it of course.
The lame dialogue, sad sack acting (can somebody wake up Nicolás Pauls’ and tell
him he’s on a film set) and useless character interaction didn’t help matters
much. Was it amateur night over here or what! Add to that the Gina Phillips character being a little too bitchty to
be 100% appealing, Faye Dunaway making a fool of herself via all kinds of overacting and a “shock” ending that acted as a perfect example as to how “not to”
do a twist ending and you get a good looking stinker that obviously couldn’t smell its own stank. Anything good to say? Well, the Gothic locations owned and made for a swell setting. I dug the initial premise as well (reminded me of Suspiria) and Gina Phillips was pleasant to the crotch. Furthermore, I boogied to some of the creepy dream sequences and screaming “stop making fools of yourselves” at the screen to Faye Dunaway and Nicolás Pauls did provide for some guilty pleasure. On the whole though, Chronicle of the Raven was a misfire in every sense of the word. Good concept, decent actors…too bad
somebody drugged the cooks. Choke this bird and hit Mc D's instead!
We get some bloody raven pecks; some revealed insides, blood splashes, a beating heart and a bird coming out of one’s belly. Nothing to beat a bag lady up about.
Gina Philips (Jennifer) did her best with what she was given; too bad her character came across as a selfish beeyatch which made it hard for me to root for her. Faye Dunaway (Mary Ellen) hammed it up and cashed that check shamelessly. Duilio Marzio (Darío) had the kooky old man thing down pat; sadly his dialogue often blew pea soup chunks. Somebody should’ve spiked Nicolás Pauls’ (Roberto) coffee with some uncut speed. Weightlifting equipment has more life than his so called performance. Wake up bro! You’re shooting a movie man!
T & A
The only TNA here was the one I was dreaming of while being bored to death by this boring bore of a boring movie.
Daniel De La Vega and Pablo Parés nailed the dread filled atmosphere (the setting and their DOP sure helped) but failed when it came to pulling off scares or above the norm shots. Whatever…
Semi tacky score that worked half the time and blew dongs for the other half.
I remember first hearing about The Chronicle of the Raven at some Festival and then wondering whatever happened to it. Well now I know: it sucked the meat pole so hard that they dump-trucked it on the shelves where it belongs. Bland, shoddily written, fairly tedious with stale acting and zero scares in tow, this baby should’ve stayed in its crib. Sure the plot showed promise, I dig on Gina Phillips, some bits did work and it was at times “so bad it’s good” but in all honesty, life is too short for sitting through crud like this. Punch this one out of your face and move on to the next fear flick! Not worth the time.
The film is also known as "Jennifer's Shadow"
For some reason Gina Philips gets a "and Gina Phillips" in the opening credits. Problem is she's teh lead of teh film! What's up with that?
Gina Philips also played her twon sister Johanna in the film.