Dying God (2008)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring James Horan, Lance Henriksen, Erin Brown, Agathe de la Boulaye, Nicolas Silbert
Directed by Fabrice Lambot
One would think a movie about a horny monster raping hookers to death with its giant penis would be a lot sleazier than Dying God turned out to be. Yeah, we do get a close-up look at the creature's massive, retractable, three-foot wangdoodle. But even though the creature is straight out of Japanese hentai and the film itself is clearly aiming for a giallo vibe, it still isn't nearly as sleazy or trashy as you'd expect from a melding of such seedy subgenres. It's as if the filmmakers were unwilling to commit themselves to the down and dirty aspects of either side.
There's this South American creature called the "Kurupi" that's considered a god by a lost native tribe. The seemingly last Kurupi is now lurking about a decaying city that I think is supposed to be Buenos Aires yet most of the cast are English-speaking Americans. The beast is desperately trying to find suitable baby-maker fodder in order to sustain its species. Since scoring with the ladies is kind of hard when you look like a green-skinned version of the human/alien hybrid from Alien: Resurrection, it's taken to stalking and raping hookers. Even then it's hard to make a baby when blowing your wad involves blowing a hole out the woman’s' uterus.
Like I said at the outset, it isn’t nearly as sleazetacular as the premise sounds. In part because the majority of the raping and killing takes place off-screen (and even when it doesn't it isn't shown in a particularly graphic fashion) but primarily because the Kurupi is practically a subplot that takes a backseat for the majority of the film in favor of a dreary character study about the personal failings of the repugnant cop assigned to find out who is leaving behind a trail of dead hookers with gaping holes blown out their lower abdomens.
Sean Fallon (Horan) is a tough talking, chain smoking, often drunk, always surly, borderline burnout cop of the constantly smacking people around or threatening to smack someone variety. He's also a crooked cop involved in some shady dealings and more than willing to execute someone who double-crosses him.
A big problem here is that between the forced writing and actor James Horan trying too hard, Fallon borders on caricature. When he's shown threatening a guy in a bar for mouthing off to him and pulling a gun on a pizza delivery boy simply because the young man asked him too many questions about police work I'm unsure if this is supposed to show what a temperamental hard ass he is or an attempt at parody. Mostly he's just unpleasant.
One minute he's physically abusing his girlfriend in a drunken rage and the next we're supposed to feel bad for him if something were to happen to her. You can make a fascinating character study of a troubled, dirty cop and still make it interesting (see: Bad Lieutenant). You can even embolden this character with some noble qualities that make him likeable (see: "The Shield"). There's nothing interesting about the life of Sean Fallon and there's damn sure no reason to root or sympathize for him. The only pitiful explanation we get for why this guy is such a dirt bag is because his wife left him after he proved incapable of impregnating her - a strained attempt to tie his plight in with the monster's.
Fallon's girlfriend is a hooker named Mary played depressingly by Erin Brown, the former Misty Mundae. She takes offense at being called a hooker - "escort" is the word she prefers. Mary's introduction comes when Fallon interrupts her giving head to a client so that they can go have a quickie out in his car. Shortly thereafter, he'll rescue a pair of hookers from an abusive S&M customer and they reward him with a threesome.
There's also constant talk about what a serious time this is because of an upcoming city election. I only bring this up because the script kept bringing this up even though it ultimately has nothing to do with anything.
Lance Henriksen turns up around the halfway point as a wheelchair-bound crime boss Fallon works for on the side. There's a scene in the movie where another character talking to Henriksen's uses the line, "Don't son. That gun is loaded.” a line Henriksen himself coined as the villain in the Brian Bosworth biker flick Stone Cold. All this did was remind me of the Lance Henriksen who had meaty roles in films that may have been trashy but they were still worth watching. Would it really kill the man to start being a bit pickier about the roles he accepts?
Dying God's methodical pacing rapidly becomes downright lethargic and doesn't pick up again until its dying moments when the previously dreary tone very briefly shifts into some ridiculously machismo man vs. monster movie. The amount of gore and nudity might be enough to satisfy some. To me it doesn't work as either a character-driven film or a monster movie. It's different - I'll give it that much, but it's really just a cheap, dull, ugly-looking movie with ugly characters and a monster that remains uninspired despite the unsavory nature of this beast.
1 1/2 out of 5
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