Credentials: 3.8 out 10 (imdb.com)
Plot: Once upon a time Bruce Campbell and Mr. Peterman of “Seinfeld” got together and had a baby named Gordon (Mark Redfield). Gordon, who seems to possess none of the charm or whit of his parents, grows up to become a struggling artist and deadbeat husband. One freak car accident later, Gordon finds himself trapped in Purgatory. Before long, Gordon turns into Neo from “The Matrix” and ends up doing battle with some diabolical forces headed by an evil being known as the Despiser. Along with “an eccentric band of freedom fighters," (freedom fighters in Purgatory? Really?) Gordon has to stop the Despiser from forcing his way into the real world.
Thoughts: I know what you’re thinking. With a concept like that, “Despiser” must have cost a fortune.
Well, let me assure you no piggy banks were harmed in the creation of this movie.
I can’t say for sure whether or not that message appeared in the end credits, but come on! Who needs some silly scrolling words when the evidence is all over the screen for 90 minutes?
The film’s take on Purgatory seems to have been created by a misguided freshman graphic design student who will probably graduate with a degree in accounting. Or sports management. Anything BUT graphic design.
How bad are the graphics in “Despiser?” Let’s see. Do you remember that old Nickelodeon show from the 90’s called “Nick Arcade?”
Here’s some screen caps if you don’t.
The effects in the “Despiser” are about the same. Of course, “Despiser” came out a decade later, so that statement is really quite sad.
And for some godforsaken reason, the not-so-special computer effects aren’t just limited to the Purgatory world. They start bleeding into the movie's “real” world at the oddest times.
Example: Gordon is driving down an empty road at night.
The road is CG.
Keep in mind, this isn’t a road paved in diamonds and gold, surrounded on all sides by T-Rexes, aliens and dragons.
No, it’s just a regular road. Shot at night. Was it so hard to drag a stinking camera outside and point it at some asphalt??!?! Why waste the time CG’ing something so mundane?
This happens more than once. When writer/director/producer/effects guy/voice actor/editor/ect.(remember: when the number of titles goes up, quality goes down) Philip Cook can’t be bothered to shoot the exterior of a building, out come the effects.
Apparently, humdrum-looking apartment buildings aren’t that easy to find these days.
Lazy isn’t the right word because I feel like he just created more work for himself by doing all this.
Stupid. That’s the one I’m looking for.
So the movie looks horrible. Check.
The story, however, is surprisingly not a disaster. It’s ambitious and even sort of clever at times. Sure, it borrows liberally from “The Matrix,” but still. Credit where credit is due.
It does have its fair share of gaping plot holes though, like why everyone in Purgatory is armed to the teeth with the latest in weapons technology.
The dialogue? Not so much. But hey, lots of filmmakers have had successful careers without having a clue how real people interact with each other. Just look at M. Night Shyamalan.
And then there’s the acting, which is across the board terrible except for one man: Doug Brown, who looks a little like Carl from “Family Matters” and ironically plays someone named Carl in this movie. He’s pretty good as the leader of the eccentric rabble Gordon helps. He comes across as very likable, no small feat given the material.
You end up wishing there was much more of him and way less of Redfield, who just has nothing going on in the charisma department. A leading man, he is not.
But Redfield isn’t quite the bottom of the barrel. No, that honor is reserved for the multitude of actors who play the last “shadowman” (think elves to the Despiser’s Santa) and Tara Bilkens who adopts a ridiculous British accent to play a freedom fighter named Charlie.
|It looks so real... wait what year was this movie made? Dear God! My eyes!|
|Yeah, never could have found a place like this. Definitely needed to be CG'd...|
|The great Doug Brown! And he never acted again after this mess. Shame.|
|Take on me... take me on... I'll be gone... In a day or two!|
|I need a plain-looking apartment building. Locations? Ha! Get me my laptop!|
|You ever see "Evil Dead?" What about "Seinfeld?" "Dancing with the Stars?" |
Have you or anyone you loved ever used Old Spice?
|Honey, I fell in the water, but don't worry! My hair and clothes are bone dry!|
|Good to see Vin's brother is keeping busy.|
“Despiser” isn’t a good movie by any stretch, but Cook sticks to his creative guns, refusing to let a lack of funds or talent sidetrack his vision. An admirable quality to be sure. Also, delusional, but admirable nonetheless.