Reign of Chaos sees producer Scott Jeffrey (Jurassic Island, The Gardener) reteaming with frequent collaborators director Rebecca Matthews (Exorcist Vengeance, Beneath the Surface) and writer Tom Jolliffe (Witches of Amityville Academy, Scarecrow’s Revenge). This time out they’ve set some lofty goals for themselves, a post-apocalyptic superhero film. Unfortunately, as with most of their films, it’s been filmed on a budget that wouldn’t buy a Blu-ray of Mad Max.
The opening narration gives us some backstory on the deity known as Chaos (Mark Sears, Looks Can Kill, I Am Vengeance: Retaliation) and the only ones who can stop him, descendants of Nike, the Greek Goddess of athletic footwear. We’re also told that Chaos has unleashed a plague that’s brought about the end of civilization as we know it.
Reign of Chaos barely gets out of its opening scenes before I realized the film was in deep trouble. The world is in shambles, people are scavenging in ruined shops for food, but their clothes are clean and their hair is neatly trimmed. Even the zombie-like “Joiners” look like they just came from the salon. And once we get out of the city into the suburbs it’s all well-maintained houses with freshly mowed lawns and electricity.
Chaos isn’t the only one looking for the last of Nike’s bloodline. A man named Rhodri (Peter Cosgrove, Tribal Get Out Alive, Spirits in the Dark) who looks like he should be playing Wild Bill Hickock or Buffalo Bill, the cowboy not the serial killer, is also searching for them. He’s the only one who can train them to defeat the forces of Chaos and save what’s left of mankind.
Once Rhodri brings Nicole (Rebecca Finch, Shadowland, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent), Lindsay (Georgia Wood, The Bad Nun, The Mummy Reborn), and Alina (Rita Di Tuccio, Virtual Death Match, Hate Story IV) together Reign of Chaos gives us one of the most amazingly lame training montages I’ve ever seen. The trio punch bags, wearing boxing gloves no less, so lightly they look like they’re afraid they’ll break a nail. And their weight training could best be described as pumping tinfoil. If this is Earth’s last hope, we’re screwed.
Despite the 2022 date on IMDB, Reign of Chaos dates back to 2019 when it was going to be distributed via High Octane Pictures. And seeing the film itself it’s entirely understandable why this has been sitting on a shelf for three years. It’s bad even compared to what Jeffrey was putting out then.
How bad? Apart from its not-so-apocalyptic apocalypse, Reign of Chaos has some of the least intense action films I’ve seen in a while. The trio certainly looks good in their black outfits, and even better “training” in sports bras and yoga pants but they’re far from believable as fighters. Even using slow-motion can’t make the fights look convincing.
I’m not even sure it’s a case of Reign of Chaos being another film to try to do way more than its budget was capable of covering. A city like London has plenty of abandoned factories that can be used as post-apocalyptic locations. And there are plenty of women with looks and martial arts training that would be willing to work cheap to get a start in the business.
Instead, we’re supposed to believe the world in its last days but gyms are still open and people still live in nice houses. And that three women whose idea of advanced fighting techniques is to do a cartwheel and can barely throw a punch are going to save the world.
Left Films will release Reign of Chaos to VOD and Digital platforms in the US, UK, and Canada on April 12th. They should have left this film on the shelf.