Friday, July 15, 2016

The Dooms Chapel Horror (2016)

 John William Holt

WRITER: Jason Turner


Bill Oberst Jr.
Austin Madding
Abby Murphy
Josh Cornelius
Joshua Mark Robinson
Wendy Keeling
Alan Walters
William Ryan Watson
Brandon Brockwell
Shaun Gerardo


Kyle Cole and his girlfriend Mandy decide to take a trip to his hometown of Kaler Mills. Kyle hasn't been returned home in over a decade since his brother's tragic death. His brother was killed in a farming accident and was widely loved by all in Kaler Mills. The town blame Kyle for his death as a video of his accident was circulated, and the town believes that Kyle could have prevented Ryan's tragic death. Kyle has brought along a documentary crew to film his return so Kyle can face his demons.

Looking at the poster for The Dooms Chapel Horror. I get an immediate sense that I may be about to witness a movie that harkens back to those movies from either the seventies or eighties. Looking at the poster, it almost has a sort of 'Goonies' type of quality to it with that monster sitting in the corner. If I went into this movie without seeing a trailer for the film. I would assume I was about to watch a throwback movie that was of the family adventure variety, that I grew up with and loved as a kid.

After watching the film. The Dooms Chapel Horror turns out to be nothing of the kind that I had come to expect. This is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that we get a straight-up horror. The curse is that the poster is better quality than anything found in the film itself. Here we have an indie found footage movie that mixes both monster mayhem with small-town cult horror. It's rarely successful, but you can't hate on both the director and writer for trying to present the audience with as many ideas as this movie tries to juggle and deliver.

I think the movie starts off rather well. The film opening with Ryan, the beloved son being killed sets the tone for the film. It's a pretty horrible scene without ever being overly gory, it's a case of less is more. While I did
 see the scene coming, it still sent a chill down my spine for the most part. This is another reason why I won't be caught working with heavy machinery. It's over the next hour and fifteen minutes where the movie fluctuates between being simply okay and downright bad.

Once we are introduced to Kyle in front of the camera. It's a whole lot of repetitive scenes of angry small town hicks starting fights with him. The scenes become overkill. We get that the town loved Ryan and blame Kyle for his death and it's apparent from the very first confrontation scene. After this, the constant barrage of scenes of almost bar fights, Kyle getting verbally abused and arguments with his girlfriend because she keeps getting put in danger become old very quickly. I could've done without so many showdowns and more backstory on the cult or the monster itself.

The film's final few minutes actually pick up the pace. Once the movie gives us a few shaky-cam shots of our monster after the cult has summoned it. The movie actually starts to deliver on its horror premise and gives us a few bloody and brutal kills. The problem with this film is that it all really doesn't make much sense in the end. We get a few flashbacks of our cult, we are aware that Kyle was once a part of it, but nothing is ever really explained. We also barely get to see our monster. It all sort of leads to nothing much at all.

I've seen a lot of people praise the acting. I didn't find it all that impressive. The only actor I know in the movie is Bill Oberst Jr. who has a habit of starring as an evil cult leader. He is well known for trashy, low-budget horror movies. Here he's no different than any other film. Austin Madding and Abby Murphy as Kyle and Mandy both deliver heartfelt performances when they need to but it's nothing to write home about. I've seen better acting done in lesser quality films.

Another element that I've seen being praised by people who've seen and reviewed the film is the score. I watched this and was more taken aback by the choices with the score. Watching a horror film, I expect to hear a score that will chill me to the bone. At one moment, I could have sworn I was watching a western as it sounded very old time west. I expected a tumbleweed to tumble past. We also had a scene that sounded like a mariachi band was used. The worst moment came when I burst out laughing at the choice of score due to it sounding like I was in the Greek Islands. It had a touch of Hellenic music thrown in for good measure. It was a very strange concoction of sounds but certainly not fit for a horror film.

Lastly, I must bring up the fact that the film was not very successful when delivering tension and scares. The film was sadly not creepy. Minus the opening shock of seeing the one who we believe to be our main star being minced in a harvester machine, it's relatively quite on the scare and suspense front. The film spends a lot of time building to a final that would've been a perfect opportunity to dish out the scares and tension, but due to the overabundance of shaky-cam, we really get to see nothing.

 18 (Estimated)


- Someone is killed by a harvester machine.
- A corpse is found in a tree (Entrails are shown).
- Corpse found by a river.
- Someone is decapitated.
- Someone has their legs torn off.
- A monster chews on people.
- Someone is disembowelled.
- Someone is split in two.
- Someone has their chest ripped open.

The Dooms Chapel Horror has a few neat ideas up its sleeves like the cult-related horror and the summoning of a monster. It's just a huge shame it's executed poorly. The film lacks any real tension or scares, it has one of the most bizarre scores I've ever heard used in a horror film and some rather poor acting. The middle half of the film is the biggest letdown, where it's dragged down by scenes of verbal arguments, bar fights, and confrontation.

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