REVIEW: Holy Terror
– By Kriss Pickering
If you checked out the last review I did for “Asylum of Darkness”, you may recall I made a comment about the lack of originality in the films of today, and in particular the horror genre. Well, in Rich Mallery’s “Holy Terror” we have another prized example! This time it’s a take on the very crowded exorcism sub genre.
In “Holy Terror”, married couple Molly (Kelly Lynn Reiter) and Tom (Jesse Hlubik) start to experience strange, paranormal incidents in their family home. Believing it to be the spirit of their deceased son trying to make contact (and not being at peace), they reach out to spiritualist medium Janice (star of many 80’s sex comedies, Lisa London) to reach him, and hopefully allow him to finally rest. Unfortunately for our well meaning trio, they unwittingly summon an evil demon who then takes possession of Billie (Nicole Olson), Molly’s sister. With things now gone seriously to pot, they enlist the help of a down on his luck priest and his mentor to attempt a dangerous exorcism and rescue Billie from her hell!
As I’m sure you guessed from that little summery of the plot, the originality of the script leaves a lot to be desired. Apparently it is inspired by the likes of William Friedkin’s classic The Exorcist, and writer/director Mallery has included many of the plot intricacies and themes from Friedkin’s seminal 1973 horror. The problem is Holy Terror is just a bit on the dull side.
If I’m completely honest though, barring the unoriginality, I can’t really put my finger on just why I found it so dull. The actual dialogue in the script is fine if unspectacular, and the character development is about as deep as you would expect from an independent horror film. And if I’m honest, from a purely technical standpoint the director has put together an impressively tight production, with more than adequate production values and parable effects.
The acting is decent too, especially considering the budget involved. You can almost feel the pain and desperation in Kelly Reiter and Jesse Hlubik turns as the grieving parents clutching at straws that the disturbances are the work of their late child. Nicole Olson’s possession was acted out well too. I was also surprised at how well Lisa London comes off in the film. My lasting memory of her will be her turn in VHS era fare H.O.T.S. though!
But as I say, as much as I wanted to be scared and entertained, the film didn’t do enough to hold either my or my partner’s attention. I feel like a bit of a heel saying this, as the film hasn’t really done anything wrong rather than not stacking up against the more famous films it is inspired by. But if you are fancying an exorcism film, and have watched your copy of The Exorcist to death, then give it a try as it may do more for you than it did for me!