Plot: What’s it about?
Bobby (Danny Lopes) is sixteen years old and already has some serious emotional issues, thanks to his mother’s death and the strict nature of his Catholic roots. But his life is about to take some unexpected turns, all of which starts when he is out flying a remote control airplane, unaware of what darkness lies before him. As he flies the plane, he somehow loses control and soon after, it strikes a nun and leaves her dead. This is where things kick into supernatural mode, as this event trips off a series of strange happenings. It seems like wherever he goes, Bobby sees the nun he killed and even though it was an accident, the event haunts him and he sees the nun, no matter what he’s involved in. His own grandmother is tortured by visions of him being sucked into a black hole, while at the same, a chain of accidents unfolds at the school. As his mind is about shot, he turns to a priest for some solace and perhaps some answers, but his claims are dismissed as side effects of the guilt from the accident. But as the nun torments Bobby’s life and draws him into a hellish world, what will become of the young man?
It seems as though recent years have been lean times for horror movie fans, but some solid genre pictures still find release, such as Dante Tomaselli’s Desecration. As I love horror films that involve religion as a key component, I found Desecration to be an eerie, atmospheric, and highly effective creation. The film was made on a low budget of about $150,000, but never seems to suffer from lack of resources, at least no more than most horror movies. The main flaws with Desecration are a thin storyline and some lackluster performances, but in truth, even these problems don’t pose much of a threat to the experience. As genre veterans know, a weak storyline can be overcome by atmosphere and visuals, which Tomaselli supplies in large doses, including a number of surreal and memorable scenes. As the movie unfolds, it becomes more and more eerie, easily one of the creepiest horror films of recent times. Add in a potent, well crafted musical soundtrack and you’ve got one terrific horror movie package. Simply put, Desecration is a film that no self respecting horror movie fan can be without. It conjures up textures not seen since the era of classic Eurohorror and without question, is one of the last decade’s best horror pictures.
As is evident by his filmmaking style, director Dante Tomaselli was influenced by the great European horror makers, such as Dario Argento. In truth, Desecration seems as though it is another Eurohorror picture, even though it was filmed right here in America. Tomaselli chooses to focus his efforts on visuals and atmosphere instead of storyline, which often happens in Eurohorror releases, of course. And much like the better Eurohorror films, this one is able to overcome the lack of traditional plot, thanks to the eerie overall presence and dazzling visuals, including some great blood & gore work. The absence of a normal plot might scare some folks off, but horror veterans should have no worries, as Tomaselli is able to accomplish all that he intends to, which means visuals, atmosphere, and style to burn. Tomaselli’s second feature film is titled simply Horror and of course, we’re all looking forward to a potential DVD release.
Video: How does it look?
Desecration is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. I had some reservations here, as this was a low budget horror film and all, but Image’s treatment is quite impressive. The print seems to be in good shape and has minimal debris, though grain is present in a number of scenes. The image is usually clean and pretty sharp however, a much better visual presence than I had expected. I found colors to be warm and bright, while black levels are refined & well balanced also. I would have liked an anamorphic treatment on this one, but outside of that, I can’t find too much to complain about here.
Audio: How does it sound?
I was more than pleased with the audio treatment found here, though a few flaws do surface at times. The main trouble surrounds the dialogue, which seems to have been poorly recorded, as some vocals are muffled and in a few instances, you simply can’t understand what the characters are saying. This is not a huge problem, as most of the dialogue is clean and coherent, but as a few scenes are hard to understand, I wanted to make a note of it in this review. But the mix remains effective and while I didn’t expect much dynamic presence, some solid use of the surrounds really enhances the experience here. A more than solid, but flawed audio presentation, this one is good enough and should please fans.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a three minute excerpt from the original Desecration short film, which soon evolved into the feature length version. I wish the entire short film were included, but even a brief look is better than no look, right?