CONTAINS SPOILERS AND A SMALL SENSE OF RELIEF
Boy, have I had some absolute rubbish recently. Maybe I'm just picking the wrong movies and the quality ones have slipped quietly past me, but the basic laws of probability suggest I must get a halfway decent title sooner or later. It's been one putrid, stinking loser after another. Grave Of The Vampire, Bane, Hunger, Eaters, Space Marines, Pulse 2.... a steady and remorseless parade of disposable, barely professional and shoddily made films that may have the odd interesting moment but overall just aren't worth the effort.
Well, The Devil's Tomb isn't about to break the cycle to any significant degree but it is a marked improvement on recent fare, an efficient and effective enough B-grade horror flick that certainly has its flaws but is well enough put together and has a surprisingly strong cast for what appears to be a bog-standard DTV shocker. A Special Forces team of badasses (led by Cuba Gooding Jr!) is assigned to extract a top scientist (Ron Perlman!) from a research bunker in the Middle East. But deep within the confines of the bunker, an unspeakable evil has been unearthed, reaching out to free itself - can the team and a terrified priest (Henry Rollins!) prevent its escape and the resultant apocalypse?
Sadly, there are those frankly unbelievable scenes in which that ancient evil manifests itself as visions which are quite patently unreal - for example the communications guy who suddenly encounters a naked hottie seconds after leafing through a girlie mag but never questions why a naked woman is suddenly wandering around a sealed underground bunker in the desert. Sure, he's meant to be a goofball, but he's surely not so much of an idiot that he thinks it's real? There are two or three of those encounters with people who quite obvious aren't there, and couldn't possibly be there, but their victims never seem to realise that.
There are plenty of movies in which unloveable idiots wander endlessly around bunkers and get killed, but The Devil's Tomb is actually quite entertaining: it's nothing that marvellous but it does manage to conjure up a nice atmosphere of dread. It occasionally aims for the feel of John Carpenter's massively underrated Prince Of Darkness: an ancient horror, priests, possession, evil liquids transferred mouth to mouth, and while it doesn't achieve it, it has a heroic stab at it (in much the same way Ray Winstone has a stab at an American accent). After a steady run of unacceptably poor video fodder it is nice to find something that's at least professional. Directed by Jason Connery.