A group of strangers wake up in an abandoned hospital to find themselves stalked by a supernatural force with sinister intentions.
*Minor Spoiler Alert*
The sins of your past can haunt you in life but in Kingdom Come (2014) sometimes they can come back to kill you. Set in an abandoned building with shadows that cover blood soaked walls, a group of strangers wake up to discover they are trapped with no way out. None of them remember how they got there but as they try and escape the secrets from their pasts begin to catch up with them. Let me first start by saying the film’s premise is extremely similar to the Saw franchise: A group of strangers waking up in a derelict room and forced to perform tasks to repent for their sins. I did roll my eyes a few times in the first thirty minutes thinking I had put on Saw 2 by mistake.
Directed by Greg A. Sager (who made the ho-hum The Devil In Me in 2012) Kingdom Come (2014) opens with a group of characters who are less like real people and more like carbon cut-outs of horror film stereotypes. There is Roger Jackson (played by Jo Jo Karume) the angry African American man who always knows best, the racist bully (Souroush Saidi), the hero (Ry Barrett), the confused damsel in distress (Camille Hollett-French) and the innocent, creepy young girl. As the film progresses it starts to become clear that the group aren’t dealing with something human but have a supernatural force playing twisted games with them. The supernatural element is a highlight for me and help differentiate the film from other torture porn. As the characters look for a way out of the building we are shown flashbacks of their past indiscretions which help to flesh out their characters. When we find out about Roger Jackson’s sordid past the retribution he receives is well deserved and is a exceptionally strong scene for me. However when the film focuses on the other characters it doesn’t work as well and comes across as a little preachy.
Daniel (played by Jason Martorino) arrives in the film soon after we meet the other characters. Martorino’s character is a joy to watch. *Minor spoiler* He is uncovered to be the mastermind of the game, a devil like man, testing the ‘sinners’ to find out if they are worthy of living. Martorino chews up the scenery and spits it out with lines like “your soul smells absolutely delicious”. His over the top style is a nice change compared to the dull acting from the other leads who could be easily replaced. Yet the terror Daniel creates is undermined by devil-like creatures (I’m guessing his minions) who follow him around. They are laugh worthy in their costumes which look like they ransacked a Christmas decoration store and stuck on anything they could find. This was a poor choice by director Sager.
The films title Kingdom Come is found in the well-known prayer and the film does deal with a few religious themes, obviously more inclined to the devil side of things. This exploration of religion at times sort-of works but usually falls flat with more of a focus on Daniel trying to get people to kill each other. It might be good to mention now that the film does have QUITE a few plot holes but I guess this comes with the territory for a film about the supernatural.
There is little much else that goes on in the film other than the characters running around the building looking for a way out (even when it becomes painstakingly clear that they aren’t in a building but some sort of supernatural purgatory which has no exit). So it was a nice change at the end of the film when the narrative took a surprising turn and finished the film with a very strong reveal of it’s own. It is very evident that the director had a clear vision for the beginning and end of the film, however he misses on the details in the middle to keep things entertaining.
Greg A. Sager definitely has improved with his sophomore effort Kingdom Come (2014) which has some strong narrative choices. Yet the film has little originality with too many well-worn horror cliches stuck in for good measure. Kingdom Come (2014) is an easy watch but forgettable as just another movie to sink to the bottom of the retreaded horror film hell.