Wednesday 9 September 2020

The Tomb: Devil's Revenge (USA 2019: Dir Jared Cohn)

Jared Cohn specialises in quick and dirty straight to streaming movies with titles like Alien Predator, Atlantic Rim and King Arthur's Sword ie films which sound a bit like other films, intended to hook the punter in. If tonight's Cohn movie sounds a little like Tomb Raider that because it sort of is. It's way more ridiculous that any of the TR movies (yes I know, low bar) and guess what? It's a lot of fun.

Three men, headed up by John (Jason Brooks) descend into a cave in search of a lost relic. A few minutes later, after the discovery of some animal bones and the evidence of what looks like human sacrifice, and with only a brief glimpse of the out of reach treasure, one of the team is dead - mysteriously slashed to ribbons - and John hot foots it out of there back to his wife and kids: "we ran into some trouble," he understates.

Wife Susan (Jeri Star Trek: Voyager Ryan) is clearly long suffering: John's quest for the relic is an all consuming passion, and no wonder. It's tied in with a curse that's liable to fall on his whole family, as ably described by John's dad Hayes (89 year old William Shatner still chewing the scenery). John's near miss with the relic prompts a series of visions of a race of demonic figures, and a foretelling of his own suicide. John's kids, Eric (Robert Scott Wilson) and Dana (Ciara Hanna) are equally bemused when dad picks them up from school and starts beating up their respective friends; he's clearly in a bad way, and this ends up with the man crashing his car into a tree (really slowly) and being taken to hospital. Near death, all hope seems lost, when he suddenly rises from the operating table, Lazarus like, as if nothing has happened. "You've awakened it" explains Suze in a vaguely demonic voice as she drives him home. 

After a chat with dad on the phone, who helpfully reminds him of the curse and the need to obtain the relic at all costs, John resolves to return to the cave and have another go. Surprisingly his family want to come with him (also at Hayes's suggestion) and the stage is set for a battle between the creatures - or Inan as they're named in the film - John and his family.

"What's happening?" demands John at one point in the movie: the audience wishes it could help him out. Seriously, this is one confusing mess, without an ounce of subtlety. The Tomb: Devil's Revenge starts as it means to go on: accompanied by Jurgen Engler's punishing overwrought score, scenes from the rest of the movie get played under the movie's opening credits to pretty much spoil any surprises, all within the first couple of minutes. 

Characters all act irrationally; honestly, if you've emerged from a dangerous cave after your colleague has been ripped apart, would you go back with your entire family? The suicide note in John's vision contains spelling mistakes. Was that an intentional sign? Why does a passing motorist cutting up Suze and John's car suddenly develop a facial scar only for it to disappear? How is it, that en route to the cave, the family are forced to drive right through the funeral service for John's murdered colleague?

Yet strangely this twaddle becomes very entertaining, and as implausible plot points mount up and the Inan become earthbound entities, the last part of the movie acquires - shock - a degree of tension. To use that time worn phrase, The Tomb: Devil's Revenge is far more watchable than it has a right to be, but if you only see it for the Shat's pulse pounding monologue about death, revenge and family, well there are worse ways to spend your time. 

The Tomb: Devil's Revenge will be released by 4Digital on digital platforms from 14 September

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