REVIEW: The Rizen
– By Dave Dubrow
THE RIZEN is one of those movies I desperately wanted to like so much that I did end up liking it, but the execution of the plot failed in many important respects. It may be that I’m simply getting more tetchy in my old age, so take what I say here with a grain of salt: the movie’s pretty enjoyable despite my quibbles.
It’s a period piece, set in 1955, which is an interesting choice that didn’t quite get supported by the dialogue, which was burdened under the occasional 21st century anachronism. The protagonist, Frances, had a Rosie the Riveter-style hairdo which didn’t fit given the nature of her character, but it’s not a big deal: only she and two other characters had lengthy speaking parts anyway (and one of them was bald).
Most of the movie takes place in an underground scientific facility, which would have worked better if they’d tried harder to make the endless series of corridors look a little different. As it was, you can tell that they shot the film in pretty much the same hallway over and over again despite the long stretches of walking. Frances begins the story by awakening, wandering the corridors, and finding an unconscious scientist. The rest of the movie concerns itself with why they’re there, who they really are, and what those horrible humanoid monsters prowling the halls are supposed to be.
The characters were likable, but the banter they engaged in didn’t quite fit: wasn’t witty enough and tried too hard to create an ease between the characters. The actors could act, but they needed better direction.
Where the movie shone brightest was in the flashbacks, where disturbing businessman/politician types interact with scientists performing what are no doubt bizarre and horrific experiments. This is where the theme came out: Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, where science and sorcery combine into something that Should Not Be. I’d have liked more of that than the endless walking down corridors.
A lot of truly terrible movies get reviewed at The Slaughtered Bird, mostly by yours truly, it seems. The Rizen is not one of them. I just wish it was better. IMDB tells us that a sequel is in the works, so I hope to see that when it becomes available. Give this one a try yourself and let us know in this space if you dug it or not.