Review: Left Behind

Last Updated on September 13, 2021

PLOT: When millions of people disappear in “The Rapture” those left behind have to deal with the knowledge that the world as they know it is over, and that the darkest period in human history is about to be upon them.

REVIEW: For those of you not in the know, LEFT BEHIND is a big franchise as far as Evangelical Christian stuff goes. It started as a series of books, which became an infamous series of bargain-basement movies starring Kirk Cameron. Now, with Christian movies suddenly in the mainstream, LEFT BEHIND has been rebooted into what PR would have you believe is a big-budget mainstream sci-fi action flick. Yeah, don’t believe that…

This new LEFT BEHIND is just as Church-y and evangelical as the original. While the presence of Nicolas Cage might make you think this is an actual movie it’s nothing of the sort. The only place a movie like LEFT BEHIND will be enjoyed is in a church basement, although the makers clearly want to fool you into thinking this is something else.

Apparently this has a $20 million budget, but most – if not all of it – must have gone right into Nicolas Cage‘s pocket as the production value is shockingly chintzy. About ninety percent of the movie takes place in an airplane, which conveniently is left with very few passengers once The Rapture hits (I notice most of coach is gone, while the first class gang isn’t as lucky). The plane set is only slightly more convincing then the one from PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE and Nicolas Cage looks absolutely pained having to deliver lines like “well, if your mom was going to run off with someone it might as well have been Jesus!” Lucky for him it looks like most of his scenes were shot in a day or so with him rarely out of the cockpit. Cameron’s role from the first film has been recast with Chad Michael Murray, who sports an unfashionable chinstrap beard and tries his hardest to come off as sincere, and of the cast I would hesitate to call him “the best” but lets just say he’s the “least awful”.

Here’s a fun fact which should clue you in on exactly what kind of movie LEFT BEHIND is. Once “The Rapture” hits, the devout Muslim man is left behind, as is a woman I’m pretty sure is meant to be Jewish, which is unbelievably offensive. The makers of this movie are clearly hoping it’ll be so powerful it will turn people to God. The writing, special fx and acting are so bad here that a certain deity may well have been involved with its making but…ah… it’s not God. LEFT BEHIND is so cheap that rather than tell the apocalyptic story the (terrible) posters suggest, once the Christians disappear it basically becomes an AIRPORT movie. Oh well, I will say this – LEFT BEHIND is the funniest movie set on an airplane since…well…AIRPLANE. Too bad it’s not supposed to be a comedy.

In fact, the only way LEFT BEHIND is at least moderately tolerable is in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way with CGI that looks like it was lifted out of a bad CD-ROM PC game from twenty years ago. The maudlin score is just as funny, with it being the only soundtrack since about 1993 that’s had Kenny G style clarinet solos, not to mention the occasional Christian rock interlude. One really has to feel for director Vic Armstrong, who’s one of the hottest second unit directors in the business but must have just given up on trying to make this good long before principle photography ever started.

There’s no doubt in my mind that LEFT BEHIND will top many critics’ lists as the worst movie of 2014, and what’s really scary is that it ends with the promise (threat?) of a sequel, complete with a bible verse to make us heathens run home and crack open our new testament. I will say this – LEFT BEHIND gives a whole new meaning to the term “holy shit.” There’s nothing wrong with a religious movie, but there are plenty of other ones out there that are far more rewarding. I doubt even the most die hard Christian movie buffs out there will like this.


About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.