We just got Exorcist Vengeance, next month we’ll have The Exorcism of God and in between those two we have another tale of a priest whose past comes back to haunt him, Fallen. An Italian production from first time director Nicolo Fumero and co-writers Simone Chiattone and Francesco Lucci for whom it’s their first credit as well.
As a strange darkness falls over the land, Father Abraham Fallen (Andrea Zirio, Ulysses: A Dark Odyssey, Richard the Lionheart: Rebellion) is called upon by The Grandmaster (Daniel McVicar, One Way Ticket to the Moon, The Bold and the Beautiful) leader of a secret arm of the church to carry out a mission of “violent mercy”. He and his wheelchair bound daughter Sarah (Ortensia Fioravanti, Incidental Characters) leave the city and head to a remote farm to prepare for what is to come.
Something is troubling Father Abraham, he has nightmares about the birth of his daughter, (before he joined the priesthood I would assume), and flashbacks to what looks like an exorcism gone wrong. Then one night he sees, and shoots a strange humanoid creature. Unfortunately for him, it’s not alone.
We hear about “The Darkness” on the radio and from characters in conversation, and we see dark clouds rolling in in an early scene. But anytime someone is outside during the day it doesn’t look particularly dark. It’s just like an overcast winter day. Needless to say that takes a lot away from Fallen before it even starts. And that’s not even the film’s biggest problem.
Father Abraham is not exactly likeable to begin with. He’s got a temper, a drinking problem and comes off as an asshole. And that’s before we find out he hacked Sarah’s mother to death with an axe because she tried to use sage to cure their daughter of her disabilities. And he didn’t so much as lose custody of her for it.
Fallen had some great potential. A lone priest with a daughter in a wheelchair forced to fight off the hordes of Satan at a remote farmhouse. But they make him absolutely impossible to root for except as the only one who can save his daughter. And the trailer drops a major spoiler on how that plays out, not that you can’t guess anyway.
The creatures themselves are creepy looking, but hardly what comes to mind when you think of demons. They look more like aliens, or The Rake from urban legend and Creepypasta fame but without the wicked looking claws. For their leader the makers of Fallen simply smeared brown makeup on a bodybuilder and called it a day. They’re also not much of a threat as they can easily be shot, stabbed, run over, etc.
Even if they had been terrifying they really wouldn’t have made Fallen anything more than tolerable. The script is such a mess with its unlikable protagonist, undeveloped supporting characters, scenes that are never explained or connect with the rest of the story and not one but two lame twist endings.
Considering how well the Italians used to be able to make films like this, Fallen is a major disappointment. What could have been Demons crossed with The Exorcist ends up being a couple of jump scares surrounded by a script full of crap. I’m surprised Lionsgate didn’t retitle it Amityville: The Fallen, because it would fit right in with the other crap they’ve been releasing lately.