Years ago, a tormented teen at Rogers High School committed suicide after stabbing a younggirl to death, or so the story goes. In the present, the jocks on the football team are slipping intocomas after having visions of the ghost of the teen. The put-upon goths and geeks at the schoolare summoning the ghost of Abel Frye and cursing the bullies. Or so it seems. Called in toinvestigate is the Veritas Team, a mom-and-pop-and-two-teenagers outfit whose job is toinvestigate pos…ible supernatural occurrences. They go undercover at the school, hoping to solvethe mystery before anyone else falls to the hangman’s curse.
As this is Christian entertainment in the hardcore Protestant sense, there can be no actualsupernatural manifestations. (In other words, don’t expect all the cool stuff that films like TheOmen and The Exorcist get to use by deploying Christian, or more specificallyCatholic, iconography). So, no ghosts, and no fatalities either (all good family-friendly stuff,don’t you know). The result is a cross between The X-Files and Scooby-Doo inSunday School. The storyline contorts itself in trying to be a horror film within a doctrinalstraitjacket, and the best it can come up with is poisonous spiders. The performances areperfunctory or (in the case of novelist Frank Peretti) wildly over the top, and the script, with its“subtly” coded swipes at evolution and secularism, is simultaneously condescending andchildish. The message of tolerance is both ham-fisted and hypocritical (the goths are presented asundeserving victims, and yet are still required to convert to whitebread confromity by the end). Ifyou’re a fan of this stuff, then we’re talking preaching to the choir (in the strict sense of theterm), so go nuts. You might enjoy. Anyone hoping for a real thriller or horror film should run faraway, very fast. But I will say this: it is at least better than Left Behind.
Choke the movie down, and you’ll at least be treated to first-rate sound. The music isspectacular, pounding away like we’re really in for something. The sound effects are very goodtoo, with a pretty thorough sense of environment. There is no distortion on the dialogue.Excellent work.
Pretty good picture too, nice and sharp, with deep, warm colours and no visible edgeenhancement. There are a few grainy moments late in the film, when are teen heroine is crawlingaround in dark tunnels, but otherwise the picture is excellent, and the contrasts and blacks arefabulous. The picture comes in both widescreen and fullscreen versions.
Side A (the fullscreen side) has a featurette about wrangling the spiders in the movie and anad for Peretti’s Veritas novels. Side B has the trailer and “Frank Peretti: From Page to Screen” –an promo featurette starring the author (quite the character). The menu is basic.
A born-again horror film is like family-friendly porn: an unworkable contradiction in terms.Dubious stuff, but a fascinating study.
Special Features List
- “Frank Peretti: From Page to Screen” Featurette
- Spider Wrangler Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer
- Vertas Series Ad