It’s that time of year–time to look at the second movie in Cloud Ten’s Apocalypse series, Revelation! For you curious folks, here’s the trailer.
Revelation is the sequel to Apocalypse, which I reviewed last summer. Apocalypse, as you may recall, is the movie that wanted to be Left Behind but tragically did not have the acting talent or the budget to achieve the same level of mediocrity as its inspiration. From what I hear, Revelation is where the four-part series really starts to come into its own, so I’m–dare I say it–a bit excited to see what happens when it does.
First, a comment on the tag line: “The book has been opened…” I like it! Maybe that’s just because, as an aspiring librarian, anything that has to do with opening books makes me happy. But I can also picture that tag line appearing on a legitimate supernatural thriller. It succeeds in creating a sense of expectancy.
With that hopefulness in mind, let’s begin.
We open with the camera panning through an empty house full of children’s toys while Marlene O’Neill’s version of “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” plays in the background. Our hero is sitting in the basement, watching old family videos of his wife and daughter. Our hero’s name is Thorold Stone, thus continuing the tradition of choosing male protagonists with absurdly masculine-sounding names (Rayford Steele, Buck Williams, Bronson Pearl, etc.).
Between the videos and a series of flashbacks, we learn a couple of things:
1. Mrs. Stone obviously got religion towards the end and started nagging her husband to go to church, despite him being uncomfortable with it. I’m not sure how I’d feel about staying with a spouse who’s suddenly decided that I’m a sinner and they need to save me for TurboJesus (I don’t think I could stay with them, personally), but Stone was clearly willing to overlook that because his love for his family is more important than religion. So go Stone!
2. We’re not clear yet on how the timeline relates to the first movie, but this is definitely post-Rapture. Furthermore, Stone was there to witness his wife and daughter disappear. Despite this obvious trauma, he has not locked himself away and still holds what appears to be a fairly high-ranking federal job. So good for him!
I like this protagonist.
Then Stone is off to work, investigating the bombing of a school bus. They’ve managed to trace the bombing back to a warehouse that’s doubling as a hide-out for a group of Haters–
I’m honestly trying to appreciate the seriousness of the situation, but they make it so hard to take this movie seriously. Why are they still calling Christians ‘haters’? There are so many better, less snerk-inducing terms they could have used as pseudo-religious slurs: Bible thumpers, Jesus freaks, Holy rollers, Religious extremists, Terrorists. That took me five minutes to think of, and I’m sure there are more that I’ve missed. Are you telling me that in the year between movies, nobody came up with anything better than ‘hater’?
Apparently not. I guess I’m just going to have to get used to snerking a lot as this movie progresses.
So Stone and his partner drive over to the warehouse to arrest the Haters (oh come ON!). Stone’s partner takes this opportunity to berate Stone for not worshiping Franco Macalusso, who the first movie has established as the Antichrist. Stone is pretty chill about the fact that, yet again, someone close to him is berating him for his religious beliefs. I don’t think I’d be so cool with it, especially since Stone’s just lost his wife and daughter and might not be so thrilled about embracing the all-powerful God who just watched them die. The poor guy can’t catch a break.
I’ve already pointed out in my previous review how ridiculous it is that everyone is worshiping Macalusso. Both Diamanda Hagan and Ivan at Heathen Critique have pointed out that, rather than proving his divinity/demonhood, the man is actually displaying signs of a mental disorder. But apparently all of the people who knew of this disorder were Raptured, because nobody in the movie universe ever points this out. Macalusso’s either God or Satan, and those are clearly the only two possibilities.
Anyway, they get to the warehouse, where a SWAT team has been given orders to shoot on sight. Stone tells them to ignore those orders and take the Christians alive. It’s all very noble until you realize that they’re probably just going to be tortured for information. Still, kudos to Stone for trying.
While they are in the process of arresting these people, a woman tells Stone that they’ve been set up by the Antichrist. She says she worked for the government (One Nation Earth AKA O.N.E. Cute.) until a couple of days ago and slips him a computer disc just before an officer grabs her and carts her away.
The scene cuts to Helen Hannah and her band of rebels. They are distraught because the government is planning a mysterious event called “The Day of Wonders” and the woman was supposed to meet with Hannah and give her the disc full of information on what O.N.E. was planning for that day! Oh noes! What will the rebels do now?!
Another rebel woman who I believe is named Cindy starts freaking out and saying that they’re all going to die. This is understandable given that the government is, in fact, doing its best to hunt down and kill them. But never fear–Helen cheers everyone up by playing a clip of everybody’s favorite TV preacher, Jack Van Impe!
Cindy puts on some headphones in order to drown out Jack Van Impe’s oddly cheerful warnings about death and destruction. Cindy is doing exactly what I’d do in this situation, but I’m sure she’ll be punished for it later.
Back to Stone, he and his partner engage in a shoot out with the men who really caused the bombing. In a shocking twist that surprises no one, they find out that the men were sent by the government!
Then the creepy false prophet shows up, which really did surprise me. What is he doing in an abandoned warehouse? When we left him at the end of the last movie, he was busy overseeing the global news network. Maybe it was a slow news day?
Creepy False Prophet shoots Stone and his friend before turning around and walking right through the wall! Forget Macalusso; if I had to choose an Antichrist, I would totally follow this guy. (I mean, I would totally follow Left Behind‘s Nicolae Carpathia, who literally secures world peace, but we’re talking in-universe.)
After Creepy False Prophet leaves, we see that Stone survived because the bullet got lodged in the walkie-talkie in his front pocket. When False Prophet’s goon squad reports that Stone is missing and so is the disc, he gets pissed and tells the guards to find Stone and shoot on site. Meanwhile, I start to realize how tediously long this movie is, and I’m not even a third of the way through it. I decide to make this review a 3-parter to save us all some agony.
We cut to a prison cell where the Haters are being kept. A father is turning his son in to be sent to a reeducation center.
“I found a Bible in his room!” he tearfully tells a guard. I can’t tell if this scene is supposed to be funny. I have a feeling it’s not. It’s worth noting that, according to Wikipedia, this exchange takes place a mere three months after the Rapture. The Bible could easily be left there from three months ago when Christianity was completely legal and, you know, the world’s major religion. Were all the Bibles in the world destroyed in a span of three months? Did people really think that was the most constructive use of their post-apocalyptic time?
What this scene lacks in chronology, though, it makes up by mentioning reeducation centers! Of all the Rapture-style Apocalypses I’ve encountered, Revelation is the first to suggest that the Antichrist is using real-world brainwashing techniques to gain converts. It’s about time we got a seriously evil Antichrist!
Meanwhile, Stone hears on the radio that he is wanted for supposedly killing his partner. He does what anyone would do in that situation: he
jumps into action lays down and goes to sleep.
Oh come on, Stone! Buck Williams would have at least made a phone call!
End of Part I