Prophecy

1979

Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller

8
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 25%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 36%
IMDb Rating 5.5 10 4309

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
December 31, 2020 at 07:13 PM

Cast

Talia Shire as Maggie
Kevin Peter Hall as Mutant Bear
Armand Assante as John Hawks
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
931.38 MB
1280*544
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 42 min
P/S 3 / 3
1.63 GB
1920*816
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 42 min
P/S 2 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Wuchakk 6 / 10

Decent "Nature-Runs-Amok" Flick (Mutated Nature No Less)

"Prophecy" was released at the same general time as the popular "Alien" back in 1979. "Alien" was a fair hit at the box office (with a far better monster) while "Prophecy" didn't do very well, causing director John Frankenheimer to plummet into a depression.

I first saw the film as a kid because I was intrigued by the 15-foot grotesque monster. As it turned out, I thought the film was merely okay. I decided to see the picture again in the mid-90s and, I don't know if it was nostalgia, but I thoroughly enjoyed "Prophecy" as an adult. I've seen it a few times since then and enjoyed it every time. As far as comparing it to "Alien," I fully admit that "Alien" is technically a much better film and way more innovative & influential, but through the years I've seen "Prophecy" about twice as often as "Alien." This proves, if nothing else, that "Prophecy" has re-watchable merit.

THE STORY: There are problems in Maine (although the film was actually filmed in the Great Northwest) between the paper mill and the local Indians. The Natives argue that they are somehow being contaminated by the industry. Robert Foxworth and his pregnant mate Talia Shire fly up to investigate and discover that mercury poisoning from the mill is the problem. They witness a handful of loony, overgrown or hideously mutated animals that verify their findings, most notably a mutated grizzly bear that looks like it's been turned inside out (speaking of which, I didn't realize they had grizzly bears in Maine; although I suppose it could be a mutated overgrown black bear).

The tone of the story is completely serious so don't expect any camp like in the similar "Lake Placid." Robert Foxworth is excellent as the protagonist; I'm surprised he didn't have a more stellar career. Talia Shire ("Rocky"), the sister of Francis Ford Coppola, is meek and likable. Armand Assante ("Odyssey") is robust and determined as the Native protagonist and Victoria Racimo is fabulous as his wife (squaw?).

There are quite a few memorable scenes, like when the Natives block a forest road culminating in an intense stand-off with the paper mill personnel, chain saw and all. Another potent sequence is when Foxworth investigates the paper mill and has an intense discussion/argument with the mill boss. The manager powerfully points out that the mill simply provides what the consumers demand and that Foxworth's actual report is going to use up thousands of sheets of paper; hence, he shares responsibility.

BOTTOM LINE: For the first hour and 15 minutes or so "Prophecy" expertly unveils the mystery while capturing the viewers attention with mounting interest. It's the last 25 minutes where the film partially stumbles. The mutated creature is fully revealed and chases the group through the forests. There's a lot of running & screaming and many die. This should be a powerful pay-off but for some reason it's not. It's merely okay, and almost boring. Still, there are some memorable visuals, like the moonlit chase through the fog-laden lake.

"Prophecy" may not be great like "Jaws" or "Alien," but it's quite a bit better than flicks like "Grizzly."

Reviewed by mnpollio 4 / 10

A missed opportunity

One of those - How did they screw this up so badly? films. A doctor and his wife leave the big city and take refuge in the Maine wilderness, only to find just as much, if not more, conflict. The corporate lumbermen harass the local Indian tribe, who resent their treatment of the land. The local lumberyard is pumping toxic mercury into the environment leading to an outbreak of birth deformities, but are more interested in covering it up than cleaning it up. And somewhere in the woods is an enraged gigantic beast that is attacking campers and the local populace.

There is a lot of juicy tidbits here, yet director John Frankenheimer (responsible for the amazing The Manchurian Candidate) somehow lets the film get completely away from him. The film is really just a straight horror thriller with topical political overtones, but it rarely engages on any level. The conflict between the corporate interests and the Indians remains static at best. The film's groundwork for the revelation of the giant monster consists of a giant trout that swims to the surface of a lake and gobbles a duck and a large piece of rubber that someone proclaims a "tadpole", all of which are borderline laughable. The subplot of the local deformities in human babies is underplayed.

Yet for all of this the film should really work on a visceral level as a horror film. There is something inherently frightening about the dark forest at night, with strange sounds emanating from all around. This is something that the film never really takes advantage of. The latter third of the film is basically a lengthy pursuit of a diversity of eclectic characters trying to escape the onslaught of the rampaging monster, and this works much better than what has proceeded it, but it still does not work as potently as it should. Some of the earlier attack scenes are too few and far between - including a bungled opening sequence that is no where near as effective as the film seems to believe and a borderline laughable assault on a camping family memorable for the hilarious burst sleeping bag and feathers moment. The film pushes the then PG-rated boundaries with some surprising violence in the latter portion, but we are not especially invested in any of these characters at peril and when the creature finally emerges it looks nothing like that depicted on the poster. Rather it alternates between looking like a guy in a rubber suit, a slimy bear, a stuffed slimy bear and a huge knockwurst. In short, nothing to remotely frighten one despite the severity of the attacks. The fact that the film is able to generate some decent suspense in this third is largely because of some level of professionalism in Frankenheimer's direction and the promise still inherent in the material (which is largely undeveloped).

The dreadful acting also does not help this film. Talia Shire spends much of the film looking bored and spends the final moments appearing as though on the verge of slipping into a Valium-induced coma. The film throws her character some drama with a plot revelation, but instead of emoting she restrains herself to the point of lifelessness. Armand Assante probably contributes the best performance as a local Native American activist whom the powers-that-be initially try to pin the attacks on.

The worst performance comes courtesy of Robert Foxworth as Shire's husband, and he deserves his own paragraph. It is a straight-forward straight-arrow good guy role that just requires someone solid and appealing. Instead, Foxworth contributes a performance that would be too broad for a Greek amphitheater. In scenes where he is to appear sympathetic, he positively drips with self-righteousness. In scenes where he is disturbed about the trials around him, he sputters, blusters and waves his arms all over the place. When Shire tells him a late plot twist, he stares with such intensity at her that it is a wonder she is not burned to a cinder. He has absolutely no chemistry with Shire and every time a character asks for his opinion as a doctor, he strides as though heading center stage and begins to pontificate as though launching into a soliloquy from Shakespeare. His final confrontation with the creature should be played in acting classes as a perfect definition of how NOT to act on screen. It is a dreadfully laughable performance that degenerates into a mockery of hammy-ness that completely overwhelms the role, the people around him and the film itself.

On an aside, this is definitely a story that would be ripe for a remake. With better special effects, a more polished screenplay, tighter direction and (arguably most important of all) a better leading man, this could transform itself into a amazingly scary thrill ride.

Reviewed by monstergarp 7 / 10

Prophecy the movie is more complex than is being given credithere.

Reviewers of the film are quick to undercut its actual effectiveness as a film without realizing that many parts of the film succeed, including the tension of the characters against the beast, the horror of the beasts' attacks, the helplessness of man within nature, etc. Reviewers would be accurate to attack the cheesy effects, hokey dialogue at times and overall loss on energy in the film toward the climax, but there's much more going on here.

Prophecy is, at best, a) a departure for John Frankenheimer, b) a 70's horror movie with a social conscience and, c) not withstanding amateurish special effects, predictable dialogue and long-view shots of Talia Shire looking petrified beyond speech, an actually entertaining, somewhat surprisingly satisfying film. The novel created an intelligent, often compelling case for early environmentalism and the frightening consequences of doing nothing in light of the dangerous contamination of the Earth. Prophecy as a film suffers from a deplorable special effects deficiancy (case in point: at one point in the film, the monster is clearly "walking" on the dock with the courtesy of a mechanical dolly and hydraulic levers...uggh) as said before, but looking beyond this, the film's plotline does build tension, though it loses steam in the end, concluding with a rather lamely tacked-on "surprise" ending that is more befitting of the TV networks in the 70's. Frankenheimer captures a "land-locked" Jaws-like eating machine on film with a vengeance, and the subsequent carnage is, while unfortunate, in light of the circumstances that created the beast, understandable. The focal point of the movie, the beast itself, operates as a deranged ecological locomotive ( actually sounding like one onfilm at times ) hell-bent on taxing mankind for its misfortune.

Remarkably ( and most likely accidentally) the film achieved a perfect "of the moment" time slice capture of the late 70's era, replete with the worries, political movements, ambiguities and uncertainties of the time all woven within the backstory of the Indian's struggle against the papermill, global overpopulation, bigotry and commercialization at the expense of nature.

Beautiful scenery ( courtesy of British Columbia, circa 1978/1979), believable performances, particularly from Richard Dysart and Armand Assanti, combined with circumstances and sequences never actually realized on film before combine to make a pretty meaty B movie. Case in point, the opening sequence with the dogs and the cliff, the tunnels of the Indian village and their subsequent use later in the film. I saw this film when I was 11, and the memory of the camping family and their fate in the film has YET to leave me. Don't think I've ever camped again without recalling that scene...

I recommend the film without taking it as seriously as it seems to take itself, though the message of environmentalism is one worth listening to. The plot device of methyl mercury poisoning in Minimata, Japan is based on true life actual events, and is considerably more frightening than the sum of this movie, but is worth researching sometime.

  • Monstergarp

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