Monday, 7 May 2012



Numerology isn't much of a basis for movies: be it algebra, trigonometry or quadratic equations, there's little in the way of exciting drama that can be gained from what is essentially your maths homework. Adapting basic arithmetic for the screen has given us the absurd Knowing, in which Nic Cage deciphers a string of apparently random digits just in time for the annihilation of the human race, or the even more absurd The Number 23, in which Jim Carrey starts seeing 23 all around him and goes mad. And if counting isn't inherently cinematic, nor are clocks and calendars, as suggested in this ridiculous pudding of number-spotting and religious whackjobbery in which the world might be under attack from mysterious interdimensional forces purely on the basis of the arbitrary number sequences we use to denote the time and date.

The only reason we got a remake of The Omen back in 2006 was because some marketing spod noticed the potential for putting 06/06/06 on the poster. Similarly, 666: The Prophecy was conceived solely for the catchy 11-11-11 release date, and indeed, 11-11-11 was the original title. There's no other rationale for this gloomy though oddly persuasive claptrap: writer Joseph Crone (who has eleven letters in his name!), mourning the loss of his family in a fire last November 11th, and having walked away unscathed from a car smash at exactly eleven minutes past eleven, jets off to Barcelona to be with his ailing father and wheelchair-bound pastor brother. But the numbers 11-11 keep cropping up around him: it's the date of his mother's death, and at 11:11 every evening something spooky keeps appearing on the church's security monitors. Could these numbers be some kind of a gateway for demonic forces?

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (who has eleven consonants in his name!), the auteur behind Saw II, Saw III and Saw IV as well as the moderate remake of the early Troma rubbish Mother's Day and the borderline unwatchable and unlistenable rock opera Repo! The Genetic Opera, 666: The Prophecy (which has eleven letters in the title, if you ignore the 6s!) is pure hogwash. Why are these weird and spooky things happening to our hero at 11:11 every day even when he's suddenly jetted across the world to a different time zone? Nice of these interdimensional demons to put their watches back as well. In a technique carried over from the Saw series, he concludes things with a rapid-fire montage of all the salient moments and key lines of dialogue for the benefit of those who missed all the clues, but still manages to leave out anything that suggests the film actually makes sense.

Still, if the plot makes about as much sense as a parachuting cow, Bousman manages a few decent jumps as the demons loom out of the darkness (the whole thing looks to have been lit with an 11-watt bulb) or suddenly stare into the security cameras. Oddly, as far as European religious nonsense/apocalypse movies go, the one that kept springing to mind was Dario Argento's staggeringly lame but perversely fascinating Mother Of Tears, the all-over-the-shop conclusion to the Three Mothers trilogy (though 666: The Prophecy is probably a better movie). Sadly, the glories of Inferno and Suspiria never did. It's utter nonsense, humourless, silly and far too dark, but not without some interest.



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