When taking a look at the four fan-favorite horror franchises which have been relegated to direct-to-video status for their latest installments — Hellraiser, The Crow, Dracula, and The Prophecy — it’s painfully obvious that only the last two have come anywhere near the quality of their predecessors. One possible reason could be the combination of the following two individuals: prolific writer and director Joel Soisson and one of the genre’s latest go-to guys, Jason Scott Lee. And let’s also not forget that terrifically gloomy Romanian locale used in both films. It adds a Gothic flavor that just can’t be matched in the good old USA (and I mean “Goth” in its traditional sense; not dark-haired, dark-eyed teens with black nail polish and a flair for theatrics). We’ve previously reviewed the latest offerings from Pinhead, the bird that won’t die, and everyone’s favorite vamp, so the focus of this review is the fifth Prophecy film: Forsaken.
[Note: If you haven’t seen the fourth film yet, beware of spoilers below. Special Note to my good friend Pulse: Christopher Walken does not appear in this film.]
Forsaken picks up right where Uprising left off with Allison (Kari Wuhrer) still trying to keep the Lexicon out of the hands of some renegade angels who hope to prevent Armageddon from taking place. She’s being helped in this endeavor by none other than Lucifer himself, who of course has his own reasons for ensuring that the angels fail in their mission. Muddying the waters is a mortal hitman named Dylan hired by the seraphim Stark (a wonderfully audacious Tony Todd) to kill Allison and retrieve the holy book. Stark, being an angel, doesn’t want to dirty his hands by doing the deed himself. The meat of the story is Dylan’s sorting out his moral dilemma of whether to do Stark’s bidding or help Allison, all the while knowing that doing the latter will result in his eternal damnation. Jason Scott Lee’s portrayal of Dylan brings a humanity to the proceedings while the angels and devils go about sniffing out their prey and perfecting their chess style manipulation of the human “monkeys” who dare get in the way of their plans. Lee gets off to a bit of a rocky start at first, but by the middle of the film, he had definitely made the persona of Dylan his own.
A more straightforward, restrained film than Uprising, Forsaken doesn’t provide much in the way of scares or special effects. Even so, it’s a satisfying journey the viewer takes with Allison and Dylan with the tension palpable as we first try to figure out exactly what “message” Lucifer is sending Allison via a dead little girl and then whether Dylan will be Allison’s savior or her (and the rest of humanity’s) doom. Lee and Wuhrer shared a nice chemistry that kept me on edge up until the moment of his tortured character’s ultimate decision.
As for the DVD itself, it’s a bare bones package. A few “sneak peek” type trailers and a commentary with Soisson, Nick Phillips of Dimension, makeup effects artist Gary Tunnicliffe, and editor Kirk Morri are all that come with the disc. It would have been nice if they had included a few of the deleted scenes discussed in the commentary; even better if they had just left them in the film to flesh out some of Allison’s back story that is only barely alluded to during Forsaken‘s stingy 75-minute runtime. Even so, I did enjoy listening to Soisson; he is always an entertaining and informative narrator of his films, and the camaraderie between him and Tunnicliffe is quite evident. One particularly interesting revelation is that Tunnicliffe’s voice was used for the Stark character in some early, shadowy scenes before Todd was able to get over to Romania for filming. And you won’t want to miss all four gentlemen’s fond memories of the film’s one nude scene.
Does Forsaken work as a stand-alone film? Not by a long shot. But it is certainly faithful to the series of which it is a part, and as a companion to the only slightly superior Uprising, it weaves a very compelling storyline that I hope will be picked up and completed in the future. Yes, it does have the sort of “open” ending that seasoned (and not so seasoned) moviegoers will instantly recognize as sequel inducing. I have just one request of the filmmakers if a sequel does transpire: You simply must have John Light return to play Lucifer, and please give the guy something more to do than just sit on the sidelines!
The Prophecy: Forsaken (2005)
(Dimension Home Video)
Directed by Joel Soisson
Starring Kari Wuhrer, Jason Scott Lee, Tony Todd, John Light
3 out of 5
Discuss The Prophecy: Forsaken in our forums!