04th Jan2015

‘Kingdom Come’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Ry Barrett, Camille Hollett-French, William Foley, Jason Martorino, Soroush Saeidi, Katie Uhlmann, Jo Jo Karume, Chelsey Marie, Ellie O’Brien | Written by Greg A. Sager, Geoff Hart, A. Jaye Williams | Directed by Greg A. Sager

kingdom-come-cast

It’s been two years since Greg A. Sager made his directorial debut with The Devil in Me (aka Devil Seed), a slice of demonic Canadian terror that made my Top 10 films of the year list and I’ve been eagerly awaiting his follow up ever since. Well now the wait is over as Kingdom Come, another superb supernatural horror from the Great White North, hits DVD and VOD across North America.

Starting out in a similar vein to the original Saw movie, Kingdom Come sees a group of strangers wake up disoriented in a seemingly abandoned hospital. However unlike that franchise, this group of strangers soon find themselves being stalked by a supernatural force with sinister intentions. As they begin to question the coincidences that link their pasts, they soon realize that the decisions they make will seal their fates forever.

Told through a mix of flashback and slowly-unveiling plot thread, Kingdom Come is one of the most intriguing new horrors I’ve seen recently. Whilst the film confines itself to horror tropes, writer/director Greg A. Sager uses the genre to tell a story that is actually more about forgiveness, morality, vengeance, redemption and absolution – very religious themes that many would say are out of place in a gore-filled terror tale but here work extremely effectively.

Perhaps it’s because Sager and co. cleverly wrap this “good vs. evil” quasi-religious story in some fantastic, and creepy imagery; especially the “minions” of the films villain (no spoilers as to who he, or she, is), who look like they’ve stepped out of the books of Clive Barker or video games such as Silent Hill. [Side note: Speaking of "influences, it seems whomever created the credits for Kingdom Come may have played a little too much Split Second - the credits and music sound like they've stepped straight out of the opening of that excellent video game]; but don’t think that any of those influences detract from the movie, they only enhance what is a fantastic, and original, story.

Why Kingdom Come works so well is the way in which writers Greg A. Sager, Geoff Hart and A. Jaye Williams weave their intricate plot. Characters have no recollection of who they are or why they got to be where they are, yet they are seemingly connected outside of the dank walls of this horrifying hospital. Its they way in which these connections are revealed, the interpersonal interaction between the cast of characters when they “remember” their past(s) and when they realise just what the hospital and it’s villainous inhabitants want, that kept me on tenterhooks all the way through this movie.

Thankfully Sager, like he did on The Devil in Me, cast some brilliant actors in the key roles – none more so than the trio pictured above, Ry Barrett, Camille Hollett-French and Ellie O’Brien, who are all, in my opinion, key to the films success. Kingdom Come‘s story hangs on the actions of its cast and these three, Barrett and Hollett-French in particular, are the movies moral centre, their story is – when all’s said and done – the core of this movie and thankfully they have the acting chops to pull off the incredibly moving final moments of this flick. And Ellie O’Brien as the young Celia really does convince as it’s revealed just what true part she has to play in the story…

Speaking of final moments, it’s incredibly refreshing to find a horror movie in which the success and/or failure of the villain lies squarely in the hands of the “heroes”, not because they attack them or successfully escape their clutches but instead because of the moral choices they make when it all comes to a crunch. Such a shame that Sager and co. then tack on a cliched twist ending that wouldn’t be out of place in one of the many Nightmare on Elm Street sequels – though here all it does is makes something of a mockery of what has happened prior, making the character growth we have witnessed moot.

If you can get past that unwarranted, and unwanted, twist ending without it detracting too much from what has come before then you, like I, should really enjoy what Sager and co. have brought to the genre with Kingdom Come. The film is out now on DVD and VOD in the US from Uncork’d Entertainment.

 **** 4/5

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