Dir. Luke Boyce (2022)
A stripper and a religious protestor must band together to face the apocalypse in 1987 Chicago.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Where did peep shows go, anyway? I know Giuliani cleaned them out of New York City in the 90’s, but this is Chicago, so surely they must’ve existed elsewhere. And I’ve never seen one in my life? I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a wildly disgusting idea, and it somehow makes strip clubs, otherwise known as the greatest places on the planet, into dirty, disgusting dens of grossness. But still, shouldn’t it be an option, at least? Is it just because I’ve gotten so used to small-town life that I don’t even know where in the world they exist, or whether they do, in fact, still exist? Anyway, I digress, let me discuss this awful movie.
I gotta be honest… this is, indeed, an awful movie. Like, not even a little bit good. How in the world it gets the adulation it has so far received is beyond me. I know at one point it was sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, but maybe they watched a different cut of the movie that was even slightly entertaining. It’s actually a brilliant idea, so much so that I was greatly looking forward to watching it, and it has some serious potential at times. It’s about two people on the opposite ends of the “morality” spectrum: a dancer at a peep show, who takes her clothes off for money, and a religious protestor who is a cross between a standard Southern Baptist and a Westboro wackadoo. The protestor is outside while the dancer is trying to work to support “her man, and the Judgy McJudgerson protestor is telling her she’s going to burn in Hell and is taking all of the good men and leading them astray. They’re stuck in a small location when Judgment Day hits with a vengeance, and they must work together to survive. It’s a standard survival horror, with the promise of otherworldly creatures and some potentially awesome effects to keep us entertained on a relatively short runtime. Unfortunately, it delivers on absolutely none of that at all and manages to be, by far, the worst movie I’ve seen in 2022 (including A Banquet, which I think is a treatment for insomnia.)
It's a character driven movie, largely focused around two characters in a single location. But the characters, in this case, are boring, poorly acted, and uninterested, and filled with the kind of moral lessons that a toddler must’ve written. The film delivers an extremely unsubtle critique of evangelism and Christianity, and it jams it into the plot at times where the characters really have way better things to be concerned about. It’s so on the nose that the religious protestor even turns out to be a lesbian, her secret lust for the dancer driving her moral outrage. Why? Because that’s the most straightforward, cliché way that she could be a hypocrite, and the film is all about calling out hypocrisy while ignoring every bit that is present within the film itself. Which actually leads to a broader critique of the attitude behind the film itself.
This movie is basically internet atheism at its most narcissistic. The fact that modern atheists want to be as judgmental and douchey as those they criticize would be ironically humorous if it wasn’t so fucking obnoxious. There are awful Christians, to be sure (looking at you, Westboro assholes), but let’s not pretend for one second that there aren’t awful atheists as well. Maybe some people are just shitty? Has the director of this movie ever considered that? At the end of the day, this is Biblical damnation written by someone who, uh… doesn’t know the Bible very well. Almost none of what happens in this movie is actually in the Good Book, Revelations, or any of the “source material” the film quotes, and it draws heavily from random demonology lore and obscure Catholic dogma. How in the hell some random teenage girl would even know that shit is beyond me, and the movie leans so heavily into that ridiculous (and often a-religious) lore that it’s not even slightly appealing or accurate. It feels like they’re throwing random religious-sounding things at the wall, seeing what sticks, and then completely ignoring it for the random bullshit that fell to the ground.
The movie also has a terrible feel to it in general. It feels so boringly “appropriately 80’s.” It’s not well done, like House of the Devil, with hints of culture and technology firmly establishing the time without beating you over the head with it. The only clue we’re ever given that the movie takes place in the 80’s is because the character walks over a layover in the street that says 1987 Chicago. Yeah, the hair is a little big, but that easily could’ve been 90’s hair. Yeah, she’s punk rock, but they exist today too. And why was it even set in the 80’s? What was the point of that? Was there any reason, at all, for the film to take place in that time period? The film mentions an 80’s porn star once, and there’s a few things that might key you in on that, but it’s all pointless, derivative, and self-aggrandizing. Your movie isn’t cool just because you set it in the 80’s, I'm sorry to say.
Yeah, I mean I guess she has 80’s hair, but she looks more like Andrea Zuckerman tbh.
Look, I get it. It’s 2022. Christians are bad, strippers have hearts of gold, and judging people is wrong. But whereas Red State decided to take a subtle (and often not-so-subtle and purposely inflammatory) critiquing view of Christianity, Revealer is for the dumb people who didn’t get the satire of better films that have been made before it. However, let me be clear: as offensive as this movie will be to anyone who has any kind of faith (or intelligence) whatsoever, it’s also a really fucking bad and stupid movie. It’s not exciting: the first half of the film is literally these two idiots yelling at each other, stopping their attempts to escape into the extremely-convenient underground Speakeasy tunnels to lecture the audience on judging other people and how motivations aren’t always what they’re perceived to be. So much of the dialogue is mind-numbingly stupid, and it squanders every last bit of opportunity that it has to make a film that’s at least fun or interesting. We see one, literally ONE demon. We see one, literally ONE guy who has been taken over by a demon. We see zero, literally ZERO plot or meaningful interaction. And we have, for all intents and purposes, the absolute worst movie of 2022 as a result.
I’m a demon and even I’m offended by this movie.
Who this movie is for: People who really, really hate Christianity, People who also really hate watching good movies, People who want to watch this and A Banquet for the worst double feature of all time
Bottom line: When you get to the end of a movie and your only response is “so what’s the fucking point beyond the contrived bullshit you jam-filled your movie with?”, there were clearly more misses than hits in the movie. This movie takes a baseball bat to Christianity and religion in general, but the director is batting .000. Clunky, ridiculous, and as subtle as a bull in a Bible shop. Avoid this one, it’s absolute trash.