Denounced: Rise of the Horsemen (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

Paul loved his family, but they were Christians while he wasn’t. Thus, when they were taken in the rapture, he was left behind to face an ever-darkening world. Becoming a violent hater of God, Paul joins the ruthless government agency known as the Horsemen, who stamp out any traces of Christianity left on the earth. However, when they turn on Paul, he’s forced to face the reality he’s been trying to avoid.

Production Quality (0 points)

From the get-go, Denounced exhibits very disorienting and off-putting audio quality that’s sometimes overdriven, and although the soundtrack can be interesting at times, it’s often too loud. Camera work is very inconsistent, and despite clear video quality, the lighting is all over the place. The same can be said for the cheap sets, locations, and props as they don’t adequately represent what they’re supposed to portray. Special effects and sound effects are annoying, and weird zooms and camera angles confuse the audience. The editing is a disaster, sometimes wasting time on nature footage that accomplishes nothing and others times letting scenes drag on for no reason at all. Needless to say, there’s too much negative in this section to warrant any points.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

In keeping with most apocalyptic films, as soon as the rapture happens in Denounced, everything in the world starts falling apart and melting down for no reason. How are supposed to be believe so many instant natural disaster occur in succession? Besides this, it’s hard to follow the movie’s storyline since it jumps from one thing to the next, vaguely constructing the world with cryptic dialogue. Despite okay attempts at flashbacks, they’re too heavy-handed and narrated, and other conversations don’t do enough to build characters. Long boring sequences go by wherein nothing really happens and no one talks. Then, these give way to scenes of unnecessarily extreme and sometimes gross violence even though they’re accompanied by some slightly interesting plot turns that give better understanding to what the writers wanted to do. Nonetheless, it’s just too little too late as some potential as wasted that could have been better presented in a short film. This concept simply demands too much funding and planning than was put into this screenplay, but it’s a shame that the imperfect character outlines weren’t fully fleshed out and were instead replaced with excessive torture scenes. Also, to make things even more complicated, the ending of Denounced is very confusing as it seems to negate everything that happened in the narrative. Due to all these concerns, zero points are also awarded here.

Acting Quality (0 points)

The acting performances of this movie are less than inspiring, including a lot of yelling and screaming. As such, most emotions are quite forced. Lines are also mumbled, and there’s generally not any positive here to offset the negative, which rounds out a zero-point effort.

Conclusion

Did we really need another apocalyptic film? This rapture-succeeded-by-worldwide-dystopia song and dance has been done time and again, and it basically never works. Then, as if the premise didn’t already short-circuit potential, all other movie elements are very low quality. Denounced is a classic example of biting off more than you can chew and pushing forward to make something without proper planning. We’re long past the era where any random piece of Christian entertainment is going to be embraced.

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points

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Christmas Manger (Movie Review)

Image result for christmas manger movie

Plot Summary

Jessica ran away from home as a teenager after she did something she would regret forever, but now, after living with an abusive boyfriend for several years, she finds herself running back home for help. However, when she arrives on the farm she once lived on, she finds that all is not well nor how she left it. As she struggles to begin a new life, she discovers that she will need to return to her childhood faith in order to move forward.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

As should be the case for all recently-made Christian films, Christmas Manger demonstrates high production quality, as evidenced by good video quality and camera work. Though the audio can be quiet at times due to not having enough soundtrack, the sets, locations, and props are adequately used and well-constructed. Besides a few one-off lighting issues in some scenes, which may be by design, the editing is good, which rounds out a great production that we should see become more and more commonplace as we move into a new year of Christian film.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

Andrea Gyertson Nasfell has always been good at writing plots that portray real and accessible characters in believable life situations. This is paired with dialogue that is mostly good at building character personality and motive, but we really needed to see a bit more from the conversations among the characters in order to develop them a bit further since this is a highly character-based plot. While there are some great character back stories, flashbacks would have been helpful to enhance them. However, this return-to-hometown for Christmas plot does a great job with avoiding most of the cliches that come with this genre, and it’s a more meaningful Christmas movie than usual, even if the story is a bit simplistic. As a whole, this is an enjoyable story with no glaring errors but nothing truly dynamic either.

Acting Quality (2.5 points)

This film also has surprisingly good acting, including Andrea Logan White’s arguably best performance to date as she excels at playing herself. Other cast members are also effective and comfortable in their roles, even if a few random cast members tend to put a damper on things to keep this section from being perfect. In the end, however, this is a professional acting job to round out a professional and adequate film.

Conclusion

Films like Christmas Manger should be the norm and the baselines in Christian film (especially Christmas movies) rather than the exception. Hopefully, as we close out another year of Christian entertainment, we are beginning to see more of this, which will presumably lead to more dynamic and groundbreaking films from Christian creators. Movies like this one was a good launching pad to begin with, so it will be good to see Andrea Nasfell continue to release quality content that is memorable and culture-changing.

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points

Second Glance [1992] (Movie Review)

Jesus man!
Jesus man!

Plot Summary

Back in the Dark Ages of Christian film, when David A. R. White was a fresh new face on the scene and when the Christiano brothers competed with Bob Jones University and WorldWide Pictures for control of the market, this movie was borne.  Depicting the iconic struggles of a perfect Christian teenager in an evil fallen high school world, Second Glance has been called ‘the best Christian film ever’ by dubious critics.  This teen feels like he’s not making any difference at all, so he wishes the unthinkable—that he wasn’t a Christian anymore.  He wakes up with this wish come true, so guided by a creepy angel, he is forced to take a second glance at his life.

 

Production Quality (0 points)

In this barely one-hour length extended short film, production errors are aplenty.  Camera work is bad, including a lot of awkward tight shots, and video quality is very poor.  The audio quality is replete with background noises that often drown out dialogue.  Also, a stupid soundtrack blares constantly.  The sets and locations are severely limited, and characters are awkwardly placed in them.  Editing is virtually nonexistent, since they basically cut nothing from this film.  They needed all the wasted time they could get to stretch this glorified skit into an hour-long ‘movie’.  In short, there is nothing positive to highlight here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

This movie might as well be called Randy’s Party, because that’s the focal point of the entire plot.  This illustrious event, and that creepy King-James-Version-only angel that keeps following David A. R. White around are the highlights of the film.  In this character-based coming-of-age biopic, the characters are extremely shallow.  The high school kid White plays is extremely perfect and holds his universe together while everyone else is either beholden to his wisdom, neutral, or obviously wicked.  This makes the entire premise of this film absurd and unrealistic.  The dialogue that can be discerned is uninspiring.  There’s really nothing else to say here except that this It’s a Wonderful Life plot concept has been thoroughly worn out at this point.  Next time, please think through your idea before forcing it to happen.

Acting Quality (0 points)

As previously mentioned, easily half the lines are unable to be deciphered, partially because of background noises and partially due to mumbled delivery.  Emotions are awkwardly delivered, as with most things involving David A. R. White.  Behavior is extremely obvious and forced, trying to drive home concepts that should be subtle (gee, that sounds familiar).  As with everything else in this film, there is nothing good to note here.

Conclusion

This is such a half-baked idea that it doesn’t even warrant creation.  Couldn’t they have just dumped this one in the early stages?  But no, Christian movies must be made at all costs!  If you stand in the way, you are a persecutory extremist humanist atheist propaganda machine bent on controlling the minds of children.  The world in this movie is portrayed as very bad and oppressive to Christians (an early David A. R. White concept), and Christians must stand up against it or something.  Second Glance could almost be a prequel to Holyman Undercover.  There is really nothing learned from this work, so unless you just want to watch the infamous final scene (depicted above), don’t waste your time.

 

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points