666: The Beast (2007)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Chad Matthews, Collin Brock, Makinna Ridgway, Amol Shah, Alma Saraci
Directed by Nick Everhart
I got an e-mail about a month ago from the director of 666: The Beast telling me about how he was brought on at the last minute to slap a film together and then offered to send me a screener stating he'd read some of my past reviews and was interested in getting some constructive feedback. That DVD never arrived. I don't know if he forgot, never got around to doing so, or if someone at The Asylum's office saw my name on the mailing list and said, "Oh, no! Not that guy!" If that third theory was the case I don't think this review is going to do much to help.
666: The Beast is The Asylum's sorta-sequel to last year's 666: The Child, a cheesy Omen rip-off released to leech off of the big screen Omen remake that littered multiplex screens last 6/6/06. This follow-up is really its own beast (pun intended) outside of a few vague references to the previous film. I've been told that it was originally intended to be released under The Asylum's new faith-based film wing (something I didn't even know they had) but decided to toss in a little blood and nudity at the last minute to make the film more mainstream. Once again, this is another Asylum release with "UNRATED DIRECTOR'S CUT" slapped onto the top of the box even though the film's contents would barely muster an R-rating as is.
The political arena that these adult antichrist films are typically centered around has been replaced with the politics of the corporate arena this time. Donald, the young son of Satan, is now a grown man working as junior vice president at some prestigious multinational corporation. The boy sure grew up fast in a year, didn't he? He's also developed amnesia. Donald doesn't remember any of what went down in the previous film (i.e. everyone he killed) and or that he is, in fact, the antichrist. That whole bit about him having "666" on his tongue from previous film has also seemingly been scrapped. Donald's happily married, his pregnant wife is due to give birth shortly, and he's rapidly rising up the corporate ladder unaware of what his true legacy is to be.
All won't be well for long because his Satanist boss and a goth chick seductress will help unclog Donald's memory. Faster than you can say "Haven't I seen this movie countless times before?", Ian Ziering look-a-like Donald and his receding hairline of the damned is back doing what antichrists in movies like this do. Somehow setting up deals for Pakistan to take over the Israeli diamond trade will bring about world wars and tribulation that Donald the Antichrist will spearhead.
Meanwhile, a youngish priest who investigates occultist shenanigans for the Vatican seeks to assist Donald's very pregnant wife; her own sister has fallen victim to some occultist shenanigans. Remember Charlize Theron's character in The Devil's Advocate? Kind of a similar scenario here, only she's great with child - a child destined to be the second coming of Christ. Yep, Jesus Christ is set to be reborn and his daddy is the antichrist. Figure that one out, folks.
I don't think it will come as any great shock to hear the finale is set inside a church where Donald's wife is in labor as her husband comes calling to kill their child and anyone else who gets in his way, such as the Vatican investigator and the Mighty Morphin' Jesuit Rangers - their acting so bad I'm convinced that they had to have been crew members who got pulled on camera - there to add to the body count. At least there's finally some action occurring in this film and I must confess watching the clunky staging of this final conflict was mildly amusing.
To call 666: The Beast dead on arrival would be a gross understatement. There's nothing wrong with the writing or the direction; every problem can be traced back to the plot being a snoozer. There's very little going on and absolutely no suspense to any of it aside from a few failed scares not generated by a creepy old bag lady who pops up on the street to hiss menacingly at Donald's wife every now and then. There are, however, endless amounts of speechifying. We get business talk, religious gobbledygook talk, and occasional family squabbling. Bland actors reciting banal dialogue does not make for a good time. At least 666: The Child had some B-movie camp to it. 666: The Beast is just a colossal bore.
I think the bigger problem with a movie like this is that the antichrist subgenre is even staler than that of the slasher movie genre. There's really only so many ways that one can make a movie about the antichrist coming into prominence and pretty much all of those ways have already been done to death - no exception here. The only real twist to the proceedings is the (rather improbable) revelation that the Antichrist's wife is set to give birth to the messiah. Other than that... I'll put it this way. When you got scantily clad goth chicks conducting topless rituals and brandishing sacrificial daggers and drawing pentagrams on the floor, that's when you know the well of ideas is empty.
I find myself looking back at something I wrote in an article last year talking about the then impending release of 666: The Child:
"Now if I was working for The Asylum and their investors came to me and told me to come up with a plot for an Omen knock-off I'd come back with something a little more inventive, something like a famous Angelina Jolie-type actress that adopts one of those third-world orphans that are all the rage amongst Hollywood celebs only to learn the little tyke is the reborn human embodiment of Ahriman, the personification for absolute evil in the ancient religion Zoroastrianism believed by many scholars to have influenced the Judeo-Christian concept of Satan. Why does it always have to be the Antichrist in these movies? Wouldn't one of these films where the kid turns out to be the Antibuddha or something a little different along those lines make for a refreshing change of pace?"
I think the same could apply to films about the adult antichrist. It's just totally played out. You either have to make a really smart thriller out of the retread or you have to think outside of the box and come up with a new twist to put on tired material.
666: The Beast in a word: yawn.
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