Film Review: Acedia (2012)

SYNOPSIS:

A group of priests have been commissioned by the Vatican to perform an exorcism on a girl seemingly possessed. The ritual unravels at the seams as the priests soon realize the village locals have been wishing upon an unholy box allegedly constructed from actual wood from Noah’s Ark. The wishes come at a hellacious cost as he who casts the wish must exchange their eternal soul.

REVIEW:

Directed By: Joseph Ciminera
Starring: Matthew Burns, Robert Arensen, Joseph Ciminera, Frank Riano

Demonic possession films seem to be the theme of the hour. Many aspiring film makers not withstanding Hollywood’s philosophy as well that if something works, carbon copy the formula and saturate its potential for all its worth. We’ve seen countless substandard productions as of late such as The Devil Inside, The Last Exorcism just to name a couple yet all of the contemporary releases dramatically pale in comparison to William Friedkin’s the Exorcist.

Perhaps the 1973 production was ahead of its time. No question the film is incredibly controversial even by today’s standards. Considering these variables it’s difficult to decipher what Acedia was going for.

Sure the plot in written format looks intriguing enough. There are very original ideas crafted into the film such as a wish box and demonic possession all ravelled into one. There are three storylines running simultaneously which one can only speculate are three of the village’s locals who have wished upon the perilous box. The plot tends to jump around quite a bit so close attention has to be made at all times, at all costs.

The special effects are of superb quality and reminiscent of The Ring or Grudge. The skitterish, quivering apparitions is an effective image and utilized well here. The spirits and the possessed child are creepy as hell and will likely resonate with most viewers long after the fact.

What began to ruin an otherwise half decent production was the acting in general. Initially the performances seemed okay, nothing exceptional but nothing putrid either. As each scene progressed one had the impression we were bearing witness to community theatre rather than a motion picture production. The demon voice over, or possessor of the box sounded like a monotonous, bored department store manager announcing the latest specials. The dialogue was repetitive and redundant in some cases. With one scene in particular a spirit child discloses her premonition of her living companion’s death despite the fact it has already been clearly implied for several minutes. The audiences’ intelligence is essentially been insulted making these moments in the film very awkward and difficult to watch.

Director Ciminera was also cast in the role of The Devil and could have been a fatal error in judgement. Typically fans of the horror genre have a preconceived notion of what Satan would sound, behave, appear and do. Ciminera, although highly talented in the ability of balancing on the balls of his feet for extended periods of time did not portray a very convincing performance. It was next to impossible to buy into his portrayal, making his scenes difficult to watch and embarrassing in a certain sense.

There is another scene with dialogue exchanged where they promptly switch to a foreign language. No subtitles are offered and then they just as quickly conclude their interaction back in English once again. It was surreal to see.

Perhaps his national status as a celebrity chef on his hit television show Taste This seemed like an obvious recipe for cinematic divinity. Regrettably Acedia for the most part just left a poor taste in my mouth.

I’m sure there’s a market somewhere within cult classic aficionados for Acedia and worth a glimpse for fans of religion based films.

-One out of five tombstones

Acedia (2012)

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12 Responses to Film Review: Acedia (2012)

  1. cameron says:

    Hi Dave,
    I’ve been a big fan of this site every since you guys have been writing years ago. You have been wrong about many indie films that have been hatched by you’re pen in the years. This is one more film that you are wrong about. Though I dont think this film was Hollywood it was still very unique. My cousin wrote a film called DeVitto’s Grave back on the 90′s that you destroyed. The film did wonderfully despite you’re extension negative feedback. Sorry to be so forward, I guess I was just tired of seeing you write negative things about Indie films
    Cameron, DC

    • Dave Gammon says:

      Hi Cameron, I appreciate the feedback, no question. I think there may be a slight misunderstanding. If you read the review carefully I did mention some commendable elements about the film and voiced my opinions on its flaws. Long and short it simply didn’t work for me. I even elaborated to state it may work for some, definately not me. I’ve never heard of DeVitto’s Grave let alone wrote a review on it so I believe your accusations of ‘destroying’ it through review are unwarranted. I never wrote the review for Acedia with ill intent and aspirations that it would flop, quite the contrary. In fact I wish all film makers the best with their endeavors which is why I take exception to professing I have it in for indie productions. This also could not be further from the truth as After The Dawn was one of the best films I saw last year as was The Collapsed as each of the reviews attest to this, generalizing a comment that I write negative things about Indie films, simply is absurd.

  2. Gerald Miner says:

    I just seen Acedia on line. i though it was very good. I give kudos to joe Ciminera who clearly was thinking out of the box. He presented the devil as an everyday person. i think we have seen enough of red faces and horns. Over all I give the film an 8 out of 10
    Gerald Miner

    • Thanx for your comments, of course every review is only 1 person’s opinion and perspective. Those who disagree are encouraged to state “why” and “what” for readers to review themselves
      HNN

  3. LennyDutchan says:

    I did check out the website it appears the movie is online for free this weekend. I watched it and I dont agree with this reviewer at all. Who writes these reviews? I guess everyone has their own opinion……

    • yes it is literally impossible for every reviewer we have to watch every film that comes in, with about 3-5 new ones a day. So we assign films to those who can spend the time at a routine or 1 title per reviewer

  4. jeffmillerhorror says:

    Oh my, so creepy. This location makes me cringe. Where was this filmed? I read on the web site the director is creating half hour episodes like the Twilight Zone…..Yummy can’t wait! Movie deserves another review I think
    Jeff

    Horror is all I know

  5. twistedmind says:

    For those who seem to believe the reviewer is less than fair, it’s pretty easy to point to a number of positive reviews on horrornews, both in books and in film. We all know that even campy films like Plan 9 From Outer Space will have its fans, and the same applies to this and other current indy films. I believe a reviewer’s job is to provide (the only thing they can possibly provide) their opinion on the work. But even as a reviewer, they can still only provide ONE opinion. But look on the bright side – all this controversy has now got me wanting to watch the film – if only to see if the reviewer is justified or not in his assessment. So there. :-)

  6. nikkihk says:

    So in reading this review and the comments that followed I had to check this film out in hopes that this was one of those opportunities in which the public outcry outweighed the opinions of one reviewer. But at the same time, the comment response here seemed to be either backlash from previously scorned entities or members of the cast/crew of the film in question…

    So, I decided to watch the film and thank you very much to the team who placed it online for free.

    With that being said? I must say… I tend to agree with much of what Dave wrote and find his review more then fair. He had both positives and negatives to share, probably more positive then I would have been? I personally couldn’t watch more then 15 mins, I think the story had a ton of merit!! But the actors were less then stellar and the cinematography/editing choices were either film student, photographer gone camera man, or a wedding videographer by day… filmmaker by night sort of hobbyist. It’s not to say there weren’t some nice shots in here and there? But from a cinematic standpoint as a hole, it was lackluster at best.

    Just as the first comment mentioned he/she “was just tired of seeing you write negative things about Indie films”, I think to viewer grows just as tired of seeing poorly put together “films”. Taking the time to hire experienced actors and crew is one of the most important aspects to making a film. This project clearly had issues in both departments. There were several occasions where actors stumbled over their lines, smiled during serious moment because they didn’t take their own part seriously, or felt terribly flat. This however doesn’t necessarily make them bad actors? BUT it does look bad for the director who didn’t re-shoot it, or the editor who picked a bad take.

    I also noticed it mentioned, “I give kudos to Joe Ciminera who clearly was thinking out of the box. He presented the devil as an everyday person.” If thinking outside of the box is doing what Constantine, Devil’s Advocate, The First Power, The Prophecy, and a dozen other films that have done? Sure.

    All that said, when you put a film out there to be seen and reviewed? You are tasked with taking the good and the bad and learning from what your audience perceives. If you are emotionally so attached that it is personally damaging to realize that not everyone is going to love what your accomplished? Then you shouldn’t be a filmmaker. Like all art, it is subject to the viewer, and each viewer will see it differently… that doesn’t make that viewer wrong or right? A collective of people may love this film? I was bored 15 mins in and had no taste for the aesthetics. The next guy might find it unbelievable, and the next might turn it off 5 mins in.

    All you CAN do is take the licks with grace and enjoy the positives, beyond that you’re just spinning your wheels when you should be working on how to be better at what you do.

  7. so, I’ve been a big fan of this site for a while and I decided to see “Acedia” written and directed by Joe Ciminera. I have say that the acting was average at best (In some cases this is a compliment). I do disagree with the reviewer about the story line and some of the directors process with characters. I thought the story line was incredible, original and interesting. Everyone seems to be talking about the devil scene in my opinion was very good. The devils doesnt need to spit fire or have a red cape. The location was incredible. Does anyone know where this was shot? Whoever was the camera person should go back to school or have some training. The editing was different and I give kudos for thinking outside the box. Overall I would reccommend seeing it, its better then some of the garbage thats out there now. In fact, I read somewhere on IMDB that the budget for this was $4k. Imagine if director had some real money behind this idea. Goes to show you that you dont need millions to make a good horror flick. I think the review was a bit harsh but this is a touch business my friends
    Vincent Wakefield, NYC

  8. damienglendale says:

    Hold on a minute dont bash this site. Everyone is missing the point. First off the hype is circulating about bashing indie films from the reviewers. You cannot compare a 50 million dollar hollywood film to an Indie film that cost 4k and if did cost 4k to make then this director should win an Oscar. Not bad for a 2 day shoot with no script. Film is about telling a story, not spending millions to produce with special effects. Reviewers should take this into consideration or they should not review….bottom line. I think the review was over critical. Story was great, editing was good, camera angles were a bit spotty & shaky and most of the cast was good. This is the kind of review that discourages Indie film makers to continue making films. By the way I never reply to these types of posts. I love this site so much I thought I should voice my opinion. Everyone keep up the good work! I dont know how long the press link will be active but you can see the movie here ssshhhh…
    http://www.acedia-themovie.com/stream.php
    Damien, NC

  9. Steve says:

    Just seen Acedia on Hulu. Was very creative. Some poor acting but I disagree about the devil. I think evil can take many forms
    Steve
    PA

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