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Writer/director Dante Tomaselli's atmospheric and terrorizing first feature film. One of the most original horror films in recent years, "Desecration" is an eerily dazzling and genuinely frightening psychological chiller about a beyond-the-grave relationship between a teenage boy and his long-dead mother. Bobby, a 16-year-old loner, has been emotionally damaged by his mother's early death and a repressive Catholic upbringing. The boy accidentally causes a nun's death, triggering a chain of supernatural events and violent mayhem that leads Bobby into Hell to confront his mother. Powerful childhood demons are exorcised and unleashed as the gates of Hell open in this gripping, hallucinatory film.
- 3-Minute Desecration Short
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So let me put this bluntly, and set up a real warning beacon: THIS MOVIE IS GARBAGE. Imagine the worst movie experience you've ever had, and then multiply it by a million, and you've begun to approximate the awfulness that is "Desecration", the first 'cinematic' outing by director Dante Tomaselli. I have seen TV infomercials that have better acting, production values, and offer more entertainment. Yes, "Desecration" is truly *that* bad.
Tomaselli reputedly spent $150,000 making this movie, and I don't doubt it. If that figure is correct, then Tomaselli apparently used $3,500 on the film itself, and the rest to pay off movie reviewers. How else to explain the favorable buzz about this film, reflected in the sympathetic reviews on this site and on others, reviews that compared Tomaselli to Italian horror master Dario Argento. Comparing Tomaselli to Argento is a gross insult to Argento, and a ludicrous, possibly deranged compliment to Tomaselli, the equivalent of comparing
Baywatch hero David Hasselhoff to Lawrence Olivier.
How do I hate "Desecration"? Let me count the ways.
1) The movie looks like it was made by a high school drama class. That's right---if you like looking at the same camera angles 20 times during a scene, if you think that your local high school spook-house make-up is really scary, if you think seeing the same ominous figure in the same position outside the same window for about five minutes is atmospheric----well, then this is the film for you. If not, you'll think about burning it in the first 10 minutes.
2) The acting in the film begins at Atrocious and goes down from there. It's not even bad in the Troma-films sense of "bad"---that is, worth a rent because it's funny/awful. No, think of your aunt and uncle trying to make a horror film, and imagine how they would "act" if they had 3 minutes to prepare.
3) Plot, you say? OK, here goes: Catholic school teenager has strict religious upbringing, grows up with grandmother with hacking cough (it's actually a real cough, and one of the scariest things about the film---scary in that you start wondering how much it would cost to insure actress Irma St. Paulle), and accidentally kills a nun with a motorized toy airplane. Strange things begin to happen at the Catholic school he attends: a faceless nun (actually an actor in a nun outfit with a cheesy $5.00 mask from Rite-Aid) starts walking the grounds; the boy starts seeing the nun he killed wandering about and glaring at him; one nun is killed with some levitating scissors; another is overcome by red smoke. As it turns out, a gateway to Hell has opened in the school, and the boy's mother is trying to get out through her son.
4) Many reviewers make the mistake of highlighting the bizarre deaths in the film, making the plot sound interesting. Again: if you like cheesy informercials shot with no budget and horrible acting, the movie *might* be of some interest. The scene where the model airplane kills the nun is laughable in its incompetence---the actress has obviously smeared some fake blood on the side of her head, and for about a minute holds the fake airplane to her ear. Great. This, by the way, is the high point of the movie.
5) Did I mention the writing and acting is below the level found on most home-movies? The lead actor has obviously been culled from the bottom 5% of some remedial high school PE class; another key character, a young priest, delivers all of his lines (whatever the emotion) all in the same volume and all in monotone, without any inflection. Want some dialogue? Here's a sample, when a nun at the school phones the main character's grandmother to tell her about her grandson killing another nun.
NUN: "It's about Bobby---he's killed a nun here."
GRANDMOTHER: "Oh, it can't be Bobby---he's a good young man. What will happen to him?"
NUN: "Probably nothing."
Or how about this, when Bobby is confronted by the young priest mentioned above.
PRIEST: "Do you know you're failing out of St. Anthony's?"
BOBBY: "But how can that be, I got A's in History and in your class, Psychology?"
PRIEST: "Oh, I dunno, beats me."
At some points Tomaselli even tries for laughs, hoping, evidently, that the movie will wind up on late-night TV or Mystery Science Theater 3K. It doesn't work.
6) There is zero suspense, horror, or even effective splatter in the film; if the bloodletting were even competently done, it might justify sitting through this mess of a film. But even that is ruined, leaving the horror fan to sit in agonized wonder through scene after scene that ups the ante of incompetence, featuring horrible lighting, no suspense, zero special effects, abysmal acting, and even worse dialogue.
If by some misfortune you are given this film as a "present", either burn it or give it to a hated enemy.