An excerpt from a conversation I had about a year ago:
Scott: So I finally rented the Prophecy trilogy from Netflix...
Movie Geek Friend: Um ... why?
S: Cuz I love to find buried treasure in the cheesiest little horror movies, plus...
MGF: "Plus" better be something extra good.
S: Plus Christopher Walken's in all three of 'em.
MGF: Ah. Hm. Lemme know how they are.
So now I settle in to watch the fourth entry in the generally-overlooked-for-good-reason Prophecy series -- and the opening credits inform me that this is a Walken-free chapter in the Prophecy saga.
I was crushed. The Prophecy without Christopher Walken is like Hellraiser without Pinhead -- but come to think of it, they've been making Hellraiser movies like that for ten years now. Surprising in no way whatsoever is the fact that both endless series spring from the schlock-slingers at Dimension Home Video: The place where horror series go to enjoy a long, languid demise.
So there's no Christopher Walken. Fine. OK, Sean Pertwee is a good sign. The guy was a whole lot of fun in Dog Soldiers, so maybe he'll add some color to The Prophecy: Uprising. But on the other end of the scale is leading lady Kari Wuhrer -- and if there are two sure signs that your horror series is quickly heading down the tubes, it's A) the hiring of Kari Wuhrer (see also: Hellraiser: Deader, The Hitcher 2) and B) naming your movie The Prophecy: Uprising instead of The Prophecy 4. (Obviously after "Part 3," the consumers start to get a little bit more discerning, which is why "Part 4"s often become Hellraiser: Bloodbag, Leprechaun's In Tha Soup!, or The Prophecy: Uprising.)
Wow, I'm digressing all over the place. You're owed at least a plot synopsis by now, but the flick doesn't exactly make it all that simple. Suffice to say that there's this magical self-writing book that may (or may not) be able to predict the future and/or augment said future. I believe that the book decides what it's going to say based on who's holding it, so when Kari Wuhrer hangs on to the tome, the world is obviously fine and dandy. But if the evil spirit Belial gets his claws into the novel, well, the planet goes kerplooey. I think. Mr. Pertwee plays an English cop in Romania, and he's the one compelled to piece all of this insanity together. Oh, and there's a glowing ball of golden light that follows Kari around. That golden ball is an angel named Simon.
Like I said, just give me some Christopher Walken, and this blathering yawn-fest would have been a lot more entertaining.
Produced back-to-back with The Prophecy: Forsaken (not a.k.a. The Prophecy 5) in Romania over two years ago, The Prophecy: Uprising is a picture-perfect example of squeezing a cinematic stone for its last droplet of blood; the handful of Prophecy-faithful who've managed to pay attention this far down the line will undoubtedly be bored to tears by the flick's unending yip-yap / theological hoo-hah that inspires giggles even as it induces huge, gaping yawns. Hell, this flick is so desperate for ideas that it just steals the whole "villainous body-jump" schpiel from The Hidden, Jason Goes to Hell, and Fallen.
Those who'd like to see Doug "Pinhead" Bradley in a role that doesn't require 47 nails and a tub of white paint should, however, consider this one a must-see.
Video: Widescreen (1.85:1) Anamorphic, but the transfer is fuzzy and full of grain. Watchable enough, to be sure, but nothing too impressive, either.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, which is a good thing, considering this movie has more words in it than a library.
There's a multi-participant audio commentary with writer/director Joel Soisson, actresses Kari Wuhrer & Georgina Rylance, makeup effects supervisor Gary Tunnicliffe, and production executive Nick Phillips. The group really seems to appreciate the urban strife that's afflicted Romania, mainly because it looks so darn cool in the movies. Ugh. Someone actually mentions the phrase "socio-historical context" while my eyeballs involuntarily roll through their sockets. But the crew loosens up as the track wears on, giggling at gaffes and playing the "remember that location?" game. Essentially, this is a commentary recorded for A) the most devout Prophecy fans in the universe, and B) the people who recorded it.
Adapting to Mother Nature: The Making of The Prophecy: Uprising is a 5-minute behind-the-scenes what-have-you in which director Joel Soisson expresses his admiration for the "urban wasteland" that is Romania. Plus the weather was nasty.
We also get a collection of Cast Auditions that run about 14 minutes in length, (John Light, Doug Bradley, and Sean Pertwee must be thrilled that the world now knows they were required to audition for "The Prophecy Part 4"), an extended ending entitled Belial Pleads His Case (1:40), a deleted scene entitled Do You People Have Twinkies Here? (1:24), and an automated photo gallery that prefers to be called The Prophecy Slide Show. The disc also opens with a pair of trailers for Cursed and Dracula 3: Legacy.
"Stands Alone as a Terrific Thriller!" is what's plastered on the back of the DVD case, which one assumes is another way of saying "Has Nothing to Do With the Previous Chapters!" Helluva way to alienate what few fans this series still has left while desperately trying to sell Uprising to a doubtlessly unenthused potential buyer.
But as someone who enjoys horror sequels as much as "stand-alone thrillers," I can tell you that I had to brew a pot of coffee to get through The Prophecy: Uprising ... and I was sticking my entire face in the pot.
And could somebody get Sean Pertwee a good gig sometime soon? The guy deserves better stuff than this.