After checking out two and three for other reasons, I was pretty much done with the Prophecy series. The reason I’m back, it’s because of an interesting looking cast that includes Kari Wuhrer , Doug Bradley and Sean Pertwee. We are back in Romania, and missing Christopher Walken. I knew that coming in as well, but it’s okay – by the time we hit Movie number three, he was superfluous and really just being shoehorned in there for name value.
This time around we open up with some footage designed to look old, a dictator watching the parade, and the angel in the background – it’s affected the dimension logo itself which immediately got my attention. When we fast forward to present day, we see a petty thief as he races through the town occasionally getting glimpses angelic statues at the top of the buildings. He slams into Sean Pertwee, a cop of questionable morals – considering he roughs the punk up and shakes him down for his cash. The film quickly backpedals though and tries to prove to us he is not such a bad guy since he gives it to the offering box at church. On the side, Kari Wuhrer keeps watch, handing out votives and watching the parishioners. For his part, Pertwee is being watched by an angel named John who then attempts to recruit him. Meanwhile in the basement of the church, a priest watches as scripture writes itself – burning into the pages of an old manuscript. It’s enough to give him a heart attack. The book it self is the prophets lexicon, our macguffin for this film.
In his adorable tiny little car, Pertwee and his angel sidekick are called to the scene of a murder. What he finds is the small time crook he had been shaking down earlier. He’s been thrown from a roof with his heart ripped straight out of his chest. It’s some pleasant gore for a series that’s usually mostly bloodless. Inside the church towers, he encounters two other cops, including Doug Bradley, and an ominous greeting scrolled on the wall in a suspiciously red color.
Across town, a woman in a waitresses uniform is someone being mauled by a dog in the park. She runs over to help, but the victim looks up evily. It’s just a guise, and behind it, the spirit of Belial , she possesses the woman. In the distance, the barking at the dog stops. Reliable sets off, beginning for mission to find the profits lexicon. She invites the church to find it, but it’s too late… Kari is already stashed away back at her dreary little apartment.
Back in the car, Sean Pertwee explains the finer points of police work to the engine. How to beat Suspect property. This is before Sean for it we got respectable on shows like Gotham, so he’s dropping a lot of F bombs and really relishing it. He drops Angel John off, and calls in a favor from the station for the facial recognition and background on this guy. Something about him doesn’t set right.
At the next crime scene, still being presided over by Doug Bradley we have another victim with no heart… This one had voices in her head driving her to file her teeth down. Angel John seems to know a little bit too much about what’s going on here. For we continues to research the case, looking for other incidents were removed. We got a nice touch here where he does some instant messaging with an unseen competent, one who goes by the name of Joseph 1995. It’s absolutely a reference to Steve Hytner (better know from his Kenny Banya role n Sienfeld) from the previous prophecy films, layering in just enough continuity to be endearing. Joseph 1995 mentions that these entities, these angels always take the heart, because it renders the body uninhabitable.
Next stop is a creepy old abandoned mansion. Pertwee is confused and annoyed.
“There will be.”Suddenly, the basement is filled with visions of the past, the medical atrocities that occurred in this mansion, and it’s all tied to Pertwee’s past, before the revolution, when his parents were declared enemies of the state. It’s his secrets that are being revealed, not just the minor acts of torture he inflicts on petty thugs, but the great secret buried in his past, that as a child he turned in his parents. The angel knows it all. But somehow, his sister was saved… A nurse removed her to treat the deep gash on her upper cheek, one just below her eye… A gash which matches a scar on Kari Wuhrer’s face.
In a small cafe, Wuhrer is consulting a priest friend who confides in her that Revelations is not just another book in the Bible, it’s still incomplete and waiting to be finished by the dictation of God. That dictation will happen in the Prophet’s Lexicon and whoever carries it basically holds the fate of the world in their hands. It’s no wonder that Belial , now having jumped into yet another body, is after it. The best way of course, would be to assume the guise of someone close to her, and he now jumps into the body of her priest friend, but bright voices in Wuhrer’s head urge Kari to run. She flees in a city bus.
Belial’s last body shows up, once again without a heart and Wuhrer’s priest friend is in custody. The cops are confused, and Doug Bradley is getting irritated at all the mystery. They put them in an interrogation room with the angel to interrogate, and they seem just a little bit too familiar with each other. Belial finally shows his true colors there, with a large monster bat flying out of his mouth. Angel John rips out his heart to make sure he can’t backtrack, end when no one‘s looking, Belial possesses Bradley. It’s time for Pertwee and the angel to go find Pertwee’s sister. People flood into the road, making the passage impossible.
“Just shove them out of the way!”
“Theyre human beings, not sheep!”
“That one looks like a sheep.”
It’s showdown time, Doug Bradley, versus Kari Wuhrer versus Sean Pertwee and his angel.
A fun cameo to watch for here, make up designer Gary Tunnicliffe is the one driving the cab that Wuhrer takes.
What makes this very unlike the other Prophecy films is how much it’s really more a police procedural then it is a horror film. Not a straight mystery, and the chase aspect with the Demon trying to grab the book from Kari is still there, but we are far more focused on Sean Pertwee’s Character and his angel partner trying to solve the mystery of a string of murders where the heart has been removed from the victim. It’s an interesting direction, but I’m not sure why they chose this one – it feels incongruent with the previous films – even when Dimension chose to change direction with the Hellraiser movies turning them into more head trips, they still felt in some way connected to the greater mythos. This feels like something different. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, Pertwee’s character in particular has great depth and I’m actually digging the angel a little more in this one, the way he acts as a sort of Oracle. But the two elements clash – as if the movie doesn’t know what it wants to be. I wonder if this was adapted from another script – Dimension was doing a lot of that around this period. That’s not necessarily a criticism. I like a lot of the stuff that dimension was putting out around this time. If you had good producers who were passionate about the project, we would see some interesting films come about in some pleasantly exotic European locales. If you’re a fan of that whole style and the way those movies felt, you’re going to like this. It’s a good role for Wuhrer as well. Much of what I’ve seen her in has her playing the hard edged tough girl, but she’s charmingly vulnerable in this film. She’s playing against type and given a chance to show some range as she goes from passive to frightened to digging down deep to find some sort of inner strength. It’s a good journey for her
Ultimately I actually kind of enjoy this film – it’s good background noise and was a lot more fun than some of the previous entries. That may be because I’m not a devotee of the series, and this new take on it is far more appealing to me.
I can’t wait until the next one!