No, not that Fallen. This isn’t that Denzel Washington “police procedural meets evil” from the 1990s. Not even close. Rather this 2022 Fallen is a an Italian export that recently made its way to some VOD platforms. With no advance buzz and few reviews, what we have are promotional materials that promise very different things. There’s a professional, vaguely interesting poster alongside a synopsis detailing a generic religious horror and trailer for what looks like art-house horror.
Following a tragic exorcism, a disgraced priest, living alone with his invalid daughter in an isolated farmhouse, once again faces evil. But a new darkness has emerged. In the middle of the night, demons besiege the house offering the priest one last chance at redemption.
Fallen Wouldn’t Pass a Screenplay Writing 101 Test
If Fallen’s synopsis sounds generic it at least promises something vaguely entertaining if executed properly. While it’s not quite false advertising, the movie’s official description stretches the truth just a bit. And if there’s a place to start with all the things wrong with Fallen, it’s story is a good candidate. Three different writers share credit for this incomprehensible mess. In addition to a disjointed approach to storytelling, with different timelines, the writers confuse ambiguity with massive gaps in plot. So many scenes in the movie feel disconnected from one another that it’s nearly impossible to understand what or why things happen.
So many scenes in the movie feel disconnected from one another that it’s nearly impossible to understand what or why things happen.
Though the official synopsis highlights a failed exorcism, you’d never know it from watching the movie. Director Nicolo Fumero sort of shows what looks like an exorcism amidst a poorly edited flashback. Is that why our priest lives isolated with his daughter? Or is it because he murdered his own wife? Not a single character ever mentions the exorcism. And just what evil has our priest been recruited to fight? Take a drink every time someone in the movie mentions the ‘darkness’ rising. Fumero never shows a ‘darkness’ in the outside world. A character, only referred to as ‘The Grand Master’ in the closing credits, and the one responsible for tasking our priest with this battle, doesn’t bother to say. And the movie’s final scenes wholly contradict the earlier story.
Fallen Sins Against Good Film-Making
Nothing else about this movie rises above its poorly written story. Fumero seems convinced he’s making art-house horror and paces the movie accordingly. Little happens for long stretches, which only gives you more time to think about everything wrong. When Fallen finally decides to introduce its ‘demons’ – white humanoid creatures – you’ll struggle to see much. All of the night scenes are poorly lit. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. That is, Fumero doesn’t do much to capture what little action is put on screen anyways. There’s no scares, no jumps, and no blood.
Little happens for long stretches, which only gives you more time to think about everything wrong.
Not even the acting redeems Fallen. Andrea Zirio, playing our ‘heroic’ priest, gives a wooden performance. Irascible and mostly unlikeable, the priest kills his own wife after catching her practicing what looks like pretty harmless alternative medicine to cure their crippled daughter. Only in the movie’s climax does Fallen even hint that the wife was practicing demonology. Nothing in the way in which Fumero tells his story offers any prior justification making it an unintentionally hilarious overreaction. But the movie’s final reveal – that daughter Sarah has taken up the practice of demonology herself – undoes the movie’s story. Besides it’s just another poor performance, another character with no actual discernible character.
Fallen Remarkable as a Special Kind of Bad Movie
Yes, Fallen is a bad movie. A really bad movie. But it’s a special kind of bad movie. That is, Fumero and his writers prove to be inept at so many aspects of movie-making that Fallen almost becomes entertaining. In fact, the only thing holding this thriller back from achieving ‘so bad, it’s good’ status is that it’s quite boring. But if you can hold out to the third act, Fallen becomes unintentionally funny. Otherwise there’s nothing about this movie to recommend.