Saturday, 26 September 2015

Seventh Son

Smell the Movies
Smell the TV


Country of origin:USA / UK / Canada / China
Director:Sergey Bodrov
Genre:Swords and Sorcery
Starring:Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, Alicia Vikander, Ben Barnes
IMDB link:

Tagline:When darkness falls, the son will rise
Favourite line:"I'm starting to wish I was a sixth son"

With a pair of Oscar winners heading the cast, at least the acting is going to be good, right?

The plot:
When she was young, evil Witch-Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) was taken captive by Gregory (Jeff Bridges), fighter, drunkard, misery and Spook, a class of knights tasked with protecting regular mortals against fiendish supernatural sorts. Imprisoning her in a well covered by a wrought iron grate, he believes he has seen the last of her until, years later, he is summoned to help exorcise a young girl. Drawing the demon from within, he is shocked to discover it to be Malkin herself.
Meantime, Tom (Ben Barnes) is an everyday sort of lad who just happens to be experiencing compelling visions, on a nightly basis, of Gregory, a mysterious young girl and Witch Mother Malkin.
Inevitably, their paths cross, and so begins Gregory’s quest anew to vanquish Malkin and help purify the world once more.

Kicking off with a ten minute set-piece so ludicrous and audacious, the tone is set from the off, it doesn’t take long to get the feel for this film. After receiving a right royal kicking from pretty much everybody who saw it, seems the world has gone mad and is incapable of understanding that this is not meant to be taken seriously at all. Oft described as ‘the worst film I have ever seen’ – a comment so lazy it makes us want to scratch out the eyes of the speaker. Really? Worse than The Abomination, a film about a man who keeps and feeds an ever growing cancerous tumour in his kitchen cupboard? Worse than Buttcrack, a film about a man whose exposed arse-cheeks zombify all they encounter? Worse than Ghoulies 4? Leprechaun 6? Rabid Grannies? Redneck Zombies? Really? Really? Worse than all of those films? – it is clear that most viewers have missed the point entirely.
Videogame movie-making is what we are presented with and, tonally, this feels like a mash-up between Game of Thrones, Monty Python, Assassin’s Creed and the 2013 version of Tomb Raider. Throw in a pinch of Enslaved: Odyssey of the West, some sub-The Hobbit style computer animations, and acting so awful it would not be out of place in a Bethesda game – I’m looking at you Fallout 3 – and what you have is a bonafide so bad it’s good feature.
And boy it is bad.
Oscar winning actor Jeff Bridges – we know, hard to credit based on this - turns in a baffling performance as Gregory, chewing the scenery with gusto whilst affecting an accent so preposterous we were genuinely laughing out loud at the foolishness of it. At times he is in full on True Grit mode, utterly unintelligible, seemingly morphing into Nick Nolte in certain scenes. He’s absolutely terrible. It’s quite, quite brilliant.
Oscar winning actor Julianne Moore – we know, hard to credit based on this - as lead villain Malkin, also puts in a sub-standard performance, though she is nowhere near on the same scale of badness as Bridges, so barely merits mention, which is a shame as we are big fans of her down here at Smell the Cult HQ.
Jon Snow from Game of Thrones turns up for a bit and is bloody useless, as usual. We’re sorry. People seem to really like Kit Harington for some reason but, as far as we can tell, he is a charmless, witless smear of plankton.
Did we really just write that?
Ben Barnes, ostensibly the lead as Tom – though Bridges is really the lead, here, shared with Moore – is not very good. Not very good at all. Lacking screen presence, charm or charisma, he just sort of wibbles through the film, adding little, vaguely irrelevant, then the movie ends, his appearance rendering no impact whatsoever. A shame for him, we guess, but it made no difference to the tale.
The script is dire.
Truly, truly dire.
Cliché after risible cliché is gushed forth, particularly from the lips of poor old Jeff, hamming it up for all he is worth, unable to find anything of value in the words he has been given, but this is no bad thing for it is better, surely, to be so utterly dreadful that it becomes entertaining rather than just passingly indifferent.
Woeful to the point of comedy is acceptable.
Average to the point of tedium is not.
Absolutely awful in every way conceivable, frankly we had a blast.
So up yours.

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