Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Gregory Hoblit

Denzel Washington/Hobbes
John Goodman/Jonesy
Donald Sutherland/Lt. Stanton
Elias Koteas/Reese
8 10
Serial killer Edgar Reese (Elias Koteas) is put to death and the cop that caught his ass, John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) is all smiles. Alas, the loony’s death is only the beginning as his spirit continues to raise some hell by body hopping from one live host to the next!

It's Halloween month! I craved a slice of gritty and bleak horror celluloid pie last weekend, and then I remembered FALLEN (WATCH IT HERE). The last time that I tapped Gregory Hoblit’s (a powerhouse director in my book with films like Primal Fear, Frequency, Hart's War, Fracture, Untraceable) flick was actually the first time, in a theater, in 1998. The way I perceived it then was" a big budget and mature version of the low coin horror parties THE FIRST POWER and SHOCKER. And I felt the same way when I watched it today. The picture had also come out 3 years after David Fincher’s SEVEN (1995) gave the serial killer subgenre a makeover and the potent shot of adrenaline that it needed. FALLEN definitely wore that influence on its blood soaked sleeve and then some!

It was back-handing to see just how solid the ride held up as a whole in 2016. I guess I had underestimated it back then. Although I had enjoyed the it, it didn’t stay with me like it did now. I think the fact that modern films have a tendency to be dumber and more shallow than what we got in the 90's, made this one look even better today! Just a theory. I may be talking out of my ass. I do that a lot. On that, FALLEN introduced me to one hell of a frightening/whacked out killer (Elias Koteas channeling a young Bobby DeNiro), nixed him out off the bat and then saw his spirit live on to bust them balls. I loved that they went to the Bible to get their “demonic” villain (the fallen angel Azazel, hence the title). Being that I knew of the entity beforehand, that jacked up the stakes of the proceedings for me. The chain of events itself was engrossing and the grounded vibe within such an irrational supernatural jamboree so came through. It feel gave all of the hoopla street cred. Speaking of cred, when your hero cop is played by The D Man, you just can’t go wrong! Yes I speak of a young Denzel Washington owning that shit! As usual Denzel, being the OUTSTANDING actor that he is, made the role stand out, gave me a protagonist to root and feel for. I was with him the whole way through.

Moreover, the supporting cast was INSANE! All I got to say is: Donald Sutherland, John Goodman and James Gandolfini and you know you're in stellar hands. DAMN! The presence of Embeth Davidtz (whom I know from the last season of Ray Donovan) Gabriel Casseus (as the endearing Art, loved that character, so genuine) and the killer from the underrated RESURRECTION Robert Joy were esteemed as well. In short, the incredible cast here elevated the picture to a higher echelon of class! Add to some genuinely chilling set pieces that gave me a bad case of the brrrs (all about that bit when the demon goes from person to person in a crowd to get to its prey), a narration that I thought was useless at first (In a Blade Runner theatrical cut kind of way) until the finale proved me wrong, a clever use of the song “Time is on my side” (by The Rolling Stones), some brilliant directing choices (the spirit POV shots were nuts) dour cinematography all around and one hell of a sucker punch ending and you get a well made and superior genre film!

Any beefs? A couple. The running time was a bit too long; a good 15-minute should have been shaved down in my pointless opinion. And this kind of goes hand in hand with my prior statement: a couple more suspense-oriented set pieces slapped in there would have been gnarly. Sometimes it felt like the story re-visited the same ground instead of upping the ante on itself. Finally, when I stopped and thought of the demon’s M.O. when it came to its relation to the Denzel character, some lapses in logic or simply questions (being that I am a moron) popped up. It was either me being dense or the film slipping. The Jury is still out...

On the whole, with Halloween around the corner, FALLEN was exactly what the Doctor Giggles ordered. Damn did it deliver the macabre goods! Sing it with me now: Time is on my side, yes it is!

A little bit of blood. Gore was not this one's game!
T & A
If Elias Koteas' white ass counts for ya, ENJOY!
FALLEN was an intelligent, superbly acted (Denzel, Koteas, Goodman, Sutherland, Gandolfini... what a cast!), at times suspense charged, gorgeously (in a morbid way) shot and randomly spooky horror injection. A shorter run time, one ore two added suspense bits would have been nice and If I think too much about the film after, some shit doesn’t fully add up, but on the whole, this stepchild of SEVEN and THE FIRST POWER delivered and made for quite the satisfying October sit down. If you’ve seen eons ago, see it again, if you haven’t, don’t cheat yourself out of an unsung horror classic that deserves way more love and respect than it got!
The film was shot in Philadelphia.

In the original script the Gretta role (Embeth Davidtz) was two characters. They combined them into one.

Denzel Washington spent time with real Detectives to prep for the part.