The Appearing (2014)
This movie was absolutely terrible. This is yet another possession movie that they claim takes different ideas and twists and turns on itself. What they mean is they don't really have a clear story idea. The director, Daric Gates (who also wrote, produced and edited this garbage), just threw a bunch of stuff together and hoped it stuck. It was apparently an indie film and while I couldn't find out how much this turkey cost, it couldn't have been much - about the only special effect were the really awful contact lenses.
It claims to be based on true events - which basically means it was filmed on the planet Earth and it's true that it just ate at least $20 out of your wallet.
There are so many inconsistencies, movie conveniences, outright no-way-in-hell-could-that-ever-have-happened, garbage that it just makes a horrible, horrible progression of a story. I did look around at other reviews before I started this one because I'm learning that if I check around to see what other people think of a particular movie, I can usually separate those that have actually seen the movie, those who probably worked on the movie, and those who plain just don't know what the hell they're talking about.
In this instance I would say the 'you don't know what the hell you're talking about' person was one who had some Christian agenda (and I have nothing against Christians, I'm one myself) and made inane comments like, "I love it when the movie starts with a Scripture." What the hell? Whether a movie starts with a Scripture has absolutely nothing to do with whether it's going to be good or not. Believe me. I've seen A LOT of them.
This one particular person said he also liked that they introduced religious elements into the story. Trouble is, most of what they "introduce" were obscure passages from the book of Enoch, which is not part of the Bible. The rest was a demon mangling Bible verses by picking a phrase or two and mashing them together. Is that 'religious'?
I laughed my butt off when one reviewer assumed that Michael was Rachel's dad... that's EXACTLY what I thought for the first 20 minutes or so of the film until she yells at him that he hasn't touched her since.... I still chuckle 'cause I mean... look at him. Now look at her. Now look at him again. Now you have my permission to go get a drink.
You've gotta love the IMDb movie database. For The Appearing (and this is also on top of their Facebook page with just a few word differences), it says: "A woman once possessed by a mysterious entity uncovers a shocking secret about her past and must face the demon that dwells inside of her."
Now, my first thought was geez, that sounds like the beginning of the Incredible Hulk TV show. My second thought was wow, they just gave away the whole movie. The information it gives you're not supposed to learn until the last, oh, say 20 minutes of the movie. Miss Mayhem looked at it, shook her head, and decided to pass. Coward. Just kidding, dear.
It apparently was filmed at Hollywood Studios - that would explain why most of the sets look like concrete block storage units – and I'll explain that later.
I don't mind people saying they like a religious type of theme to their supernatural movies. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. But throughout this movie, I was reminded of a line from Supernatural Activity, which was used more than once in that movie, and use constantly by me in this movie. Basically: You just misquoted the shit out of that right now.
Now I've pretty much told you the movie already, but I don't feel bad because this isn't a movie you're gonna wanna see anyway. I watched it for you. In front of an old, supposedly cursed house called Granville Manor, teenagers scare each other with talk about someone called Martha May, and how something bad happened there in the 1980s. So, of course, one girl wants to check it out.
Her very sexually frustrated boyfriend follows her into the house. Apparently, her so-called friends forget all about the two of them because they all go home without caring that those two never came out of the house.
Now we have a sad sack couple who has just moved into what they call Glenwood Bay. Michael is the husband, Rachel is the wife. Their backstory is brief: They have just lost their young daughter who apparently drowned in a swimming pool. So quite by random (that's sarcastic - you'll see why later) they choose this small town to start over.
Michael becomes a deputy. The Sheriff is named Hendricks. He is played by Don Swayze, the younger brother of Patrick Swayze. The resemblance to the late Patrick is eerie. Even his voice sounds just like him. Sheriff Hendricks puts the couple up in a motel until they can find house.
Right off the bat, Michael is put to work. His first case; the missing teenager who had gone into the so-called cursed house. During his investigation, he finds out that the boyfriend who followed her also was missing. His wife, Rachel is on medication due to, I'm guessing, depression because of the death of their child. She is seeing a psychiatrist at what looks to be a mental asylum because every town in America has a mental asylum, whether used or abandon, except for mine.
This asylum is run by a doctor played by the always ineffective Dean Cain. I got a pleasant surprise, though, when Rachel left her appointment. Inexplicably, and throughout the whole movie, there are these cages made of concrete and faced with chain link fencing. Everywhere. Anyway, when Rachel walks by one of the interesting looking cages, a wild man starts screaming at her, jumping up and down and spouting gibberish. It's Joe Estevez! I'd know that voice anywhere. Here in this movie he is known simply as (and is credited as) Mental Man. Funny!
Back to Michael. Apparently someone informed him that the boyfriend of the missing girl could be found at this mental asylum. When he gets there, Dr. Shaw (Cain) informs him that the boy was found and is speaking but in, according to them anyway, a dead language. (Did you know that psychiatrists were experts in dead languages? Me neither.)
Rachel sees a small girl running through the woods, and I guess she's going to chase this little girl around for the rest of the movie. And of course the first place they go is to the 'cursed' house where Rachel conveniently finds a necklace of the little girl on the steps. But then the movie shoots off in another direction and we have no idea what happened with the two of them. Get used to it.
Suddenly Rachel is back at the motel, busy being freaked out. We've got the beginning of every PA movie. In other words, doors opening, cabinets opening, things moving, and an unplugged radio that looks like it's from the freaking 20s or 30s is playing even though it's unplugged. Oh, and her nose starts to bleed so we know she's doomed one way or the other because that is a horror movie rule.
|Swayze and his super-macho fleur-de-lis|
And the non-action grinds on. Swayze has a tattoo on his forearm and he says it shows him to be, and this is not an exact quote, since he likes to quote random fractions of scripture, some sort of warrior for the Lord. It's a fleur-de-lis. Now, since these movies are so bad, and we've wasted (or, actually, I've wasted) time watching the damn thing, we might as well learn a little something. A fleur-de-lis is a stylized Lily that is used as a design or symbol. It can be religious, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic. So using a fleur-de-lis as a symbol of being a warrior for the Lord is pretty weak sauce. Leave the design for the curtains, son.
Rachel is convinced that she has seen the little girl being murdered by another little girl inside the house. So she gets her husband and the Sheriff and the three of them go to investigate. Now, did I mention that the house has electricity? They go down to the basement, I guess, where we have yet another concrete enclosure with a wire door. What. The. Hell. It is also brightly lit, so much so that, even though the Sheriff and deputy insist on using their flashlights, we cannot even see a beam from either one. Massive, massive duh quantity here. They find nothing.
Hold tight kiddies, were going to get into serious stupid territory here. Rachel is now wandering around in her nightgown and guess where she goes? Say it with me… Saaaaaay iiiiiit... the house. This time she sees supposedly written in blood a message on the wall. It's way too thick to be blood. If they are trying to say this is a dead language, why is it using English letters? I don't expect you to answer that, it was just rhetorical.
Now we get to hear a phrase that's going to be repeated ad nauseam for the rest of the movie: the sad mouse lives in this house. We. Hear. It. Constantly. It is spoken, written, painted, carved, just displayed freaking everywhere. And now people are using Scriptures, except not really because they don't know their Bibles, so what they do is they take a little of this, a little of that, a little of the other thing, and then smush it together and misapply it. Which makes me yell at the screen (my hubby hates that) you just misquoted the shit out of that right now!
So what happened to the original teenage girl? Rachel can find her without even trying. She's sitting there in the woods when she sees something strange. It's the partially covered body of the teenager. But the real giggle, actually the only giggle of the whole movie besides Joe Estevez, is when the blonde is in the morgue. Somebody should have warned this dead body that she was going to be touched.
The coroner uncovers her head and starts her speech about what the cause of death is, running her hand over the girl's forehead. This causes the dead girl to flinch, her eyebrows raising up about half an inch. And you know how some so-called corpses can't seem to hold their breath long enough during a scene?
Well, this woman shows the corpse's abdomen which for some reason has a long sewn slit across it. That's not a usual autopsy scar - I have no idea what that was for. All I know is, this corpse was very ticklish, because when the coroner touches her above the scar, the abdomen shakes. It would be funny if this were the end of the movie.
Back to the perils of Pauline. Whoops, I mean Rachel. Rachel, who obviously didn't have all her marbles when she got there, is obviously losing it big time. She walks outside her hotel room where she spends all her time when she's not finding dead bodies, and sees a bloody knife on the porch. So, being a deputy's wife, she does the only logical thing – she picks the damn thing up. So much for evidence.
She runs out into the woods because that's all there is in this town, a mental asylum, a Sheriff's office, a motel, a cursed house, and the woods. Once out in the woods she does a bit of yoga – by that I mean, she bends backwards till her head touches her feet and apparently that is Hollywood's version of being possessed. Oh, that and bad contact lenses.
Now that she's possessed, almost everything she says is some sort of misapplied Scripture because the moviemakers know almost nothing about the Bible, but apparently they assume that demons know the Bible much better than most people do. Sadly, that is actually true. After all, they were there when it was written.
There are those that truly try to read and apply Bible truth, but those people are a small part of the population and none of them are in this movie.
Okay, I've tortured you with this movie long enough. Now let's get down to the absolutely incredible coincidences and contrivances. Michael finds out that Rachel used to live in this totally random small town they just moved into. Everybody knew it. Nobody told him. Rachel is the older sister of the little girl she's been chasing through this whole damn movie. And, apparently while in this cursed house, she stabbed her to death. She then put her in a convenient garbage bag that she carried around with her and buried her sister in the woods.
She was found and put in this mental asylum, which apparently is pretty busy for a small town. How does he find this out, you ask? Yes, I know you didn't ask. Doctor Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell says that she was brought in when he was an intern there. What. The. Hell. Oh, the Sheriff knew it too. You see, his wife was Martha May, who was thought to be possessed in the cursed house, so an exorcism was performed which went terribly wrong, and she died.
But. Now the Sheriff is trying to tell Michael that his wife was a slut. He had found her with her lover and had concluded that she was possessed. So for whatever reason they're in that cursed house down in that weird basement that was completely lit up with a Catholic priest to exorcise her. Was she really possessed? The movie starts to wobble like an old tire whose lug nuts are about to fall off. Apparently during this supposed exorcism, Maggie May – whoops, sorry I meant Martha May – comes on to the priest and tries to seduce him. This enrages the Sheriff and he stabs her to death. So she was not exorcised, she was murdered.
And speaking of murdered, the boyfriend of the dead blonde (who kept writing that damned 'sad mouse' message too) is found in his cell after he has apparently castrated himself with some small sharp object and explains that his lust got the best of him inside the house and he raped and murdered her. He then dies.
Backing up just slightly, Dean Cain, really, really bad doctor, explains to Michael that when Rachel was in the mental asylum as a child, she wrote that 'sad mouse lives in this house' crap all the time. He explains that sad mouse is an anagram for Amadeus – wait, no, that's not right.
|What's the snake for? Hey, they |
didn't tell me so I ain't telling you...
So why do these movies like to quote from the book of Enoch anyway? Because in this book are stories about demons and angels and all kinds of happenings that are not in the Bible and people who use quotes from it take it as Gospel, pun intended. So, Dean Cain quotes from this book, as one of his nurses takes a copy of it from his bookshelf. Gee, I didn't know that was required reading for doctors.
Anywho, Cain explains that this demon was one of seven cast down from heaven. Wow, only seven? I could've swore that there were slightly more demons around than that. The other six were Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Nasty, Impossibility and Hostility. This particular demon was cast down and is in charge of twisting men's desires. That's all? That's all its' got to do? And there's only seven? Oh and I like that he says they were cast down into hell but are on earth. Whaaa? Now we've got hell on earth. Groovy.
Michael grabs the Catholic priest who did the first failed exorcism and the Sheriff, and they all go to Granville Manor to try to save Rachel. Now the movie is trying to say that Asmodeus was in both women, even though one was a slut and one was crazy. Michael keeps telling the Catholic priest that he can now redeem himself by saving Rachel. We have the typical exorcism crap, except he doesn't do the 'the blood of the Christ compels you' stuff he simply screams for the woman to name the demon. Why they think that would work, I have no freaking idea. Finally she says… something. And now she's normal. Well, not normal, now she's just crazy.
So. Michael is now the Sheriff, the ex-Sheriff is in jail for killing his wife, the Catholic priest is inexplicably still in the basement, and Rachel is in the asylum so that she can have meaningful conversations with Joe Estevez. That about sums things up. Well, no, it really doesn't, but there is no summing up this mess.
If this movie's ideas had been coherent, it might have said that evil is where you find it. Are people possessed or just mentally ill? Are people possessed or just sexually promiscuous or prone to other sins? Who really is evil and who is innocent? And why did I just waste 90 minutes of my life watching this waste of film?