The 90s were a rough time for the horror genre. It seems everywhere you looked all the movies coming out were teen horror. But in 1995, a little independent film came out about heaven, hell, and all that good stuff. But religious films aren’t exactly new to the genre either. The prophecy compiled a strong cast of recognizable stars but would it have the story to deliver the goods. Let’s take a look…
Thomas Daggett (Elias Koteas) is an L.A. cop who has a dark past. Seems Thomas was to be a priest but lost his faith at the altar at the last minute. Flash forward a couple of years after his falling from grace and Thomas becomes involved in a war of biblical proportions. You see angels are fighting for the heavens and the earth. They are jealous of humans because God decided he loved humans most overall. So a war is coming between the two sides and both are recruiting. The evil side wants very badly to gain the soul of one dastardly war general who was one bad man while he was alive. Seems he had a fetish for cutting faces off. But the basic idea is whichever side can gain this soul will have the overpowering advantage in the war. So each side decides to send an angel to earth to search for this very precious soul. Simon (Eric Stoltz) finds the soul first and plans to bring it back to God but when he gets sidetracked he decides to stow it in the safest place possible, a little girl. Not to be outdone the evil side sends Gabriel (Christopher Walken) to, well, raise a little hell. Gabriel has no problem wasting though whatever gets in his way to find this soul. Now Thomas, with the help of a school teacher name Catherine (Virginia Madsen), must find a way to save the girl and the whole human race. Will he have enough time and can he stop Gabriel? And what happens when all hell breaks loose?
I saw this film back in ’95 in the theater and I remember walking out thinking it was ok but all my friends loved it. A few years later I watched it again and changed my mind. While some aspects of it aren’t great, this is just a fun movie. The story is somewhat original in that I don’t think I have ever seen a film where an angel was the primary villain. There are some plot holes and it is a little slow through the middle portion of the movie but the last 20 minutes make up for it. The war is an interesting concept and the film does raise some interesting issues with faith. Gregory Widen does a good job directing. Nothing too flashy with the visuals but he keeps the film fairly tight. This has been his only film so far so I am curious to see if he does anything else in the future.
The driving force behind this movie though is the performances. Elias Koteas and Virginia Madsen are both fine in their roles. Their performances fit their characters well. Koteas is quite believable as the confused, faithless Daggett. Madsen equally has that school teach charm to her much like she did in Candyman. Also there is a supporting cast of characters that fit well and many times upstage everyone else in the scenes. But without a doubt this film belongs to Christopher Walken. He is so over the top here that every time he comes on screen you just wait with anticipation for what he will say next. He delivers his lines sharply with quick wit. I really wonder how many lines were scripted and how many were ad-libbed. The other note of mention here is the work of Viggo Mortensen, most notable for his portrayal of Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings films. I won’t give away any details of his character or how the plot involves him but I could watch the parts of the film that he is in over and over. He was pretty much an unknown talent before the LOTR films but he is great here. Many may also remember him from Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.
While the story sometimes falters and a slightly slow middle act, the Prophecy is an easy recommendation for at least a rental. I was happy to add it to my collection for the performances alone. Horror fans should enjoy the whole evil angel concept and even mainstream fans will be pleased with Christopher Walken being so entertaining. 7 out of 10.