Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dying God: Finally, A New Standard

It's the nature of the Internet that for any movie, there is going to be a vocal minority who declare it the "worst movie ever."  This irritates me because so often, it's the case that the movie isn't anywhere near the worst movie ever. It's useless hyperbole. Flawed, yes. Mediocre, yes. But truly terrible movies are, I think, much more rare than most people imagine. I'm talking about that perfect storm of shoddy production, neglect of narrative, terrible acting, clumsy dialogue, and erratic pacing. If it ends up being offensive? Even better. On top of that, it has to fail to transcend all of those limitations. So-called "worst movies ever" like Plan 9 From Outer Space and Manos: The Hands Of Fate benefit from the weird vision of their creators. There's no denying that these are not well-made movies, but if you come away from the viewing with the feelings of having seen something new, something singular, well, that's still pretty cool. A really terrible movie has to fail even at providing you with anything new in its terribleness. Lots and lots of movies are serviceable, disappointing, maybe even dull. Terrible is an achievement.

Dying God is a terrible movie, motherfuckers.

Seriously, as of this writing, I'm still only about a third of the way into it. Yes, I know, I shouldn't judge/criticize something I haven't seen. But I am having a very, very difficult time imagining anything that's going to redeem what of it I've seen so far.

A little boy is running away from a bunch of machete-wielding dudes. He's carrying some kind of bundle in his arms. He comes to a clearing in front of a truck. He stares at the driver. The driver stares at him. The mob comes into the clearing. The child jumps into the truck, and they drive away from the mob like a kid getting a ride from his dad. The mob tried taking a half-hearted shot with the one rifle they have, but yeah, they're pretty much defeated by the magic power of the internal combustion engine.

The scene changes, and we get the expected "X years later" card on the screen. We also get a dead and near-disemboweled hooker in an alley. Apparently, hookers are filled with colored corn syrup. Detective Sean Fallon is on the case. Sean Fallon is your standard renegade cop on the edge. You know, the one who doesn't play by the rules. Except really, Sean Fallon is less "grizzled antihero" and more "corrupt, morally bankrupt asshole." Seriously, there's having a character who inhabits the moral and legal gray area, but Sean Fallon sells confiscated guns back to pimps, snorts coke from the backs of prostitutes, extorts booze from strip club owners and "favors" from their dancers.  He doesn't even try to hide his contempt for the job. He's not trying to balance being an officer of the law with the compromises necessary to get justice, he's just a dick with a gun and a badge. All of this in the first third of the movie. And as near as I can tell, he's our hero. Welp.

So GunHappy McFoulmouth investigates a series of bizarre sex crimes in between bouts of total depravity. Women are being found all over the city pretty much raped to death, filled with an amount of semen impossible for one person. The sperm remain active for days after death, which should be impossible. What's doing it? Probably the snarling, bestial thing we never actually see dragging the women off. I've watched up to a point where our "hero" gets shot in the back by a pimp, who then gets his faced chewed off by something we don't see before he can deliver the coup de grace. There was also an insert shot of an old man in tribal clothing chanting at some idol. Hmmm. Now, I could be wrong, but I'm betting the rape monster is some creature that the little kid (now the old man) smuggled out of the jungle and it's running around attempting to find a suitable host for an ancient being of evil, waiting to be born into this world.

I could be wrong, but if I am, it's probably something really stupid. Really, really stupid.

Every piece of dialogue in this movie is what happens when you let an 8th grader write his idea of a hard-boiled detective story. It's pretty much just raw exposition peppered with "fuck". I wouldn't mind the production quality (poor) so much but it occasionally boggles the mind. The police headquarters is obviously just an old motel with "Police Department" taped to the front door, one of the most powerful pimps in the city lives in what appears to be a two-room apartment with an old weight bench behind a curtain, and the police morgue, well, I'm pretty sure you don't examine corpses on regular tables. Everything except the establishing prologue looks to have been shot on camcorders, and more than once, the awkward pauses in the middle of scenes get left in. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this were edited in-camera.

Okay, put it this way: Fallon conducts a stakeout by parking across the street from the people he's watching (through a small pair of opera glasses), and then has a pizza delivered to his car during the stakeout.

And again, I stress, I am only a third of the way into this movie.

Words fail me. So much so that I'm just going to embed the trailer for the movie in this post so you can see for yourself.  Go ahead, take a second…

From now on, before you call a movie you've just seen "terrible", "awful", or "the worst movie I've ever seen," ask yourself: Is it worse than Dying God? Is it really?

(EDIT: In assembling this post, it occurs to me that what I should be saying is that so far, Dying God appears to be tied with Four Boxes for my worst-movie standard. I may need to revise my opinion once I've seen all of Dying God, but my point still stands. Few movies are worse than this.)

1 comment:

  1. Lance Henriksen! Safe bet the entire budget went to the 3 hours they had him on set.