Wages of Sin (2007)

Wages of Sin reviewStarring Ashlie Clark, Brandon Michael, Prentice Reedy, Lauren Zelmen, Billy St. John

Directed by Aaron Joseph Robson

The wages of this film’s sin is boredom – utter, total, complete, absolute boredom!

The only thing stopping me from giving Wages of Sin the dreaded (pun intended) “No Knives” rating is that the actual look of the film is surprisingly professional for what was obviously a no budget, shot-on-digital production – of which far too many keep getting released to DVD somehow. How low is the budget in this case? Getting possessed by an evil spirit is visualized by painting the actor’s face pale and putting big black blotches under their eyes. Yeah, that low!

Still, the cinematography is quite sharp; certainly a hell of a lot sharper than the duller than dirt plot and the quality of acting that ranges from barely passable to simply terrible. A brief interlude with a lawyer character boasts some of the most lifeless line delivery I’ve ever heard from someone not playing a zombie.

This chick named Sue has just inherited her biological mother’s house out in the country. She and her scruffy boyfriend head out there with their stoner friend and his girlfriend. Sue has some psychological issues stemming from a childhood trauma, as well as nice cleavage, but gets flustered when receiving marriage proposals and experiencing the supernatural. She keeps hallucinating (or is it real?) stuff involving a young girl and her deranged grandfather, one of those evil preacher types who randomly spouts off Bible verses with almost as much frequency as Jack Van Impe.

This crazy preacher spirit really, really, really hates debauchery and fornication, in which case he really shouldn’t have too big of a problem with this movie given that it boasts neither sex nor nudity. There is a lot of making out though. Virtually nothing by way of gore either. That means the movie has to get by on its plot and characters to generate suspense. Fat chance!

Let’s run down a sampling of the tired clichés on display:

  • Twenty something’s on a car trip
  • Abandoned house in the middle of nowhere
  • Perfect stranger offering ominous warnings of things to come
  • Random religious imagery
  • Pot smoking
  • Ghostly little girl
  • Nonsensical hallucinations
  • Something that isn’t plugged in begins playing music
  • Strange figure seen lurking in the woods
  • Freezer full of meat
  • Old family scrapbook
  • More nonsensical hallucinations
  • Séance with a makeshift Ouija board
  • People getting possessed
  • Supernatural indoor fog
  • People running around a house
  • People running through the woods
  • Standing around and talking
  • Sitting around and talking
  • Walking around and talking
  • Walking around and not talking
  • This is one of those movie’s with no original thoughts that doesn’t even do the clichéd things with any effect. Absolutely nothing of interest occurs during the near intolerable first hour, and when stuff does begin happening about the hour mark, by then Wages of Sin was already a lost cause. Most people will have either fallen asleep or ejected the DVD long before. Good thing, too, since little of what happens during that last half hour makes any sense, right down to the insipid “surprise” twist ending.

    For me the lone highlight comes from a particularly silly exchange early on in a gas station bathroom between a scared Sue and a creepy Bible-quoting hobo trying to read her palm:

    Wino: “Jesus loves you.”
    Sue: “Screw you!”

    I don’t know why, but “screw you” just wasn’t the choice of words I was expecting her to say in response to someone telling her that Jesus loves her, even if that someone was a potentially insane vagrant harassing her in a restroom.

    Wages of Sin is one great big, super slow, nothing happening, giant yawn of a movie that should never have left the director’s living room other than as an industry calling card that proves he has the capability to film a professional-looking ultra low budget movie.

    1/2 out of 5

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    Jon Condit

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