Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Gathering

(2006) ***1/2

Traveling through the English countryside, American backpacker, Cassie, is hit by a car (see above picture) driven by Marion, who was distracted by her young stepson kicking her seat. Given how fast Marion claims she was driving when she hit Cassie, the doctor is shocked that Cassie is still alive with little more than a scratch on her. The doctor appears less concerned that Cassie has no memory of who she is. Following a brief hospital stint, Cassie gladly accepts Marion’s invitation to stay at her palatial home with her husband, Stephen and 2 children. Initially thrilled to be staying in this idyllic setting, Cassie is soon drawn into the family’s troubles, which include Marion’s frosty relationship with her stepson as well as marital difficulties with Stephen.

Meanwhile Stephen is involved in an incredible archeological discovery, a buried Roman Catholic Church from the First Century. The church is odd for a number of reasons; most striking is a statue of God that is positioned so that his back is turned away from the church. On the walls of the church are sculptures of creepy-looking people. We soon learn that a person who was present at Christ’s crucifixion created this church and the sculptures reflect the crowd that gathered to witness this atrocity.

As Cassie becomes more comfortable in her new home, she begins experiencing vivid, disturbing, violent visions. These visions include seeing people, including the children, covered in blood or sustaining other injuries. Is this the result of her recent accident or are her visions somehow connected to a recent archeological discovery in the small town? Cassie also begins to see creepy townsfolk whenever she walks around town, who resemble the sculptures in the buried church.

[moderate spoiler]

These are indeed the same people and we learn that their punishment for watching Christ’s crucifixion without attempting to stop it (why didn't he stop it?) is to be present for all human suffering thereafter . Why then are they in this small town now? Is something about to happen? Will Cassie be able to piece together the town’s mysteries before tragedy occurs? [end spoiler]

The Gathering was filmed in 2002 and was only recently dusted off and released. Given Ricci’s recent track record of generally crappy movies (e.g., Miranda, Prozac Nation, Cursed, Penelope, Black Snake Moan, and I Love Your Work), I wasn’t expecting much. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. The Gathering is one of those creepy biblical movies where the clues to what’s happening are found in ancient artwork. There are a few good scares and one fairly good twist. Creepy visions and sporadic violence make The Gathering a worthy entry for Horrorthon and I would recommend wathcing it as a double bill with The Reaping (2007). Oddly enough I wasn’t able to find a single good still from this film. There’s a lot of cool imagery in this movie yet the only pictures seemingly available are the ones I presented above.


Johnny Sweatpants said...

I had to force myself to read this because both the name of the movie and the pictures are so very lame. Sounds decent though!

I don't see why Jesus gets so much credit. If you had the opportunity to sacrifice yourself to save the souls of future generations (even omitting the fact that you would be immortal and worshiped), you'd be an asshole not to.

Jordan said...

Is that Christina Ricci? She does pretty well for someone who's head is a perfect sphere.

Jordan said...

"whose" (sorry)

DCD said...

"...perfect sphere."


That first pic doesn't even look like her.

Octopunk said...

"If you had the opportunity to sacrifice yourself to save the souls of future generations, you'd be an asshole not to.

Love it! Never thought of it that way.

Jordan said...

Jesus's sacrifice is basically reverse-engineered from the demands of the religion. I figured this out last Christmas while listening to the sermon at my grandmother's Lutheran church. "He was God on Earth but they somehow killed him nonetheless" becomes "he must have done it on purpose" becomes "the inspirational story guides us all 2000 years later; that must have been the point" becomes "he died SPECIFICALLY SO AS TO CREATE that historical resonance" becomes "for our sins."

JPX said...

Jordan that's hilarious!

Jordan said...

It's true! Think it through. Start from the standpoint of worshiping (as a deity) a Man who got killed and see where you get.

JPX said...