ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Desecration (1999)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Dante Tomaselli

Starring:
Irma St- Paul/Matilda
Christie Sandord/Mary-Madeline
Danny Lopes/Bobby
Vincent Lamberti/Brother Nicolas
PLOT-CRUNCH
Sixteen year old Bobby (Lopes) kills a nun by accident at his Catholic boarding school and her death triggers an array of supernatural events that may or may not have a connection with the ungodly spirit of his own deceased mother. Will his grandma (St-Paul) save his soul?
THE LOWDOWN
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Dante Tomaselli’s debut. It digs deeper than the average genre flick and delivers images straight out of your worst nightmare.

This is the kind of film where you define the events that are taking place. The film communicates mainly through images. There’s so many ways you can interpret this movie and I’m sure if you ask 5 people who’ve seen the film what it was about, you will get 5 different answers.

Although novel, the ambiguity of the film was for me its biggest flaw. I got lost in Tomaselli’s circus a few times and in the end I couldn’t exactly tell you how all of it happened logically. Maybe that’s the point, but a bit more support on the director’s part towards his audience would have been appreciated.

Tomaselli fills the film with surreal images and takes the viewer on a guided tour of hell: possessed nun, balloon infested room, dark holes, creepy cribs, evil clowns, eerie gifts. You want it, it's in here. I really liked how he used "childhood" images in a scary way. It always works. Bobbi’s got one hell of a subconscious!

The film’s weakest point would have to be: 1- The way sister Madeline dies: I won’t give it away but the scene looks awkward and made me giggle. Could have found a less extravagant way to off her. 2- Brother Nicolas: He’s a wonderful character (played to a T by Lamberti) and his part in all of this is not exactly clear. I wish he was explored more. 3- The actors: Although the effort is obviously there, lots of the acting is on and off. The occasional bad line delivery took me out of the film.

Overall, Desecration is an ambitious, creepy (yes, it scared me a few times) film. It’s full of symbolism and although I sometimes got lost in all of it, that doesn’t change the film’s power and overall feel. Some scenes screamed Argento’s "Suspiria" and that’s one of the best compliments I can give the film.

Wanna go to church?
GORE
A vicious bloody scissor attack and ugly possessed nuns.
ACTING
Irma St- Paul (Matilda) puts all she’s got in her performance and I appreciated it. She delivers a sympathetic show. Nice work. Christie Sandord (Mary-Madeline) gave me goose bumps. She’s very frightening as the undead nun. Danny Lopes (Bobby) hits and miss but is still effective. Vincent Lamberti (Brother Nicolas) is amazing as the drug pushing priest and more of him would have been great. Salvatore Paul Piro’s (Mr. Rullo) character is too one note for my liking. He’s just an a-hole and in half the scenes, it feels like he’s acting.
T & A
Nun to be found here.
DIRECTING
Tomaselli showcases great shots, wonderful camera movements and dream like images. He uses sound, lighting (orange filters, bright lights, red lights) very effectively and injects his film with an aura of dread that’s sure to give you the willies. The man sure knows how to use a smoke machine.
SOUNDTRACK
A score (by Michael Tomaselli) that fits the bill: CREEPY!
BOTTOM LINE
If I had to slap a label Desecration’s way I would tag it: Art Horror. The imagery sometimes drowns the narrative (or I just didn’t pick up what it meant) but is striking nonetheless. The film is not for all but if you’re in the mood for something off the wall...this is it. Hit the lights, gag the girl/boyfriend, shut the windows and scare yourself senseless.
BULL'S EYE
Irma St- Paul played the gypsy woman in Thinner.

Alfred Sole director of "Alice Sweet Alice" is Tomaselli’s cousin.

The flick cost $150,000 to make and was shot in 16 millimeter.
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