When the Universe decides what it wants, it's pointless to resist. With his family's life at stake, Joseph Steadman finds himself the unwilling test subject of a maniacal scientist in a battle that could save the world, or destroy it.
Directed by: Matthew Charles Santoro
. Starring: Jordan Hinson
, Colm Feore
, Ron Eldard
, Austin Stowell
, Jade Tailor
, Mei Melançon
, Tom Wright
, Winston James Francis
, Richard Portnow
, Laura Margolis
, Marielle Jaffe
, Omar Doom
, Linc Hand
. Music by: Kevin Riepl
'Higher Power' drew me into seeing it, with a cool postercover, an intriguing if not particularly original premise and as someone with a general appreciation for horror. That it was low-budget, which from frequent personal experience is rarely a good sign due to that there are so many poor ones out there, made me though apprehensive as well as the low rating and poor reviews.
It is sadly however yet another film seen recently, hence some reiteration because the exact same strengths and flaws those films have are present here, that to me was incredibly disappointing considering its potential which it doesn't do anywhere near enough with. 'Higher Power' is very bad, with a plethora of problems (huge ones too and the worst assets are awful) and doesn't do enough with its potential, which was hardly small. There is next to nothing to recommend.
Lets start with the few positives. The setting is atmospheric and spooky and some of the photography is not bad.
Unfortunately, it is not done justice by the rather direct to video schlocky way it's edited and the drab colour palette, so much so it was hard to appreciate it, it was very clear that the film was made in a rush with no care or enthusiasm. The editing makes one nauseous.
Going on further to the negatives, the story does feel paper thin, disjointed and over-stretched and some of it feels vague, under-explained in the last third where the film especially became duller, more predictable, more senseless and less scary. Too many characters are too sketchy and with nowhere near enough to make one want to endear to them. Their annoying and illogical decision making and behaviours frustrates.
Making the film feel bland and forgettable with not enough heart put into it. The effects are ropy at best, the sound quality is obvious and utilised cheaply (being too loud in the build ups and people's reactions) and it's best not mentioning the uniformly lumbering and histrionic acting that shows a huge indifference to the situation and what is going on and extremely awkward prolonged pauses.
Dialogue can be stilted and rambling, with lots of clichés, lots of unintentional humour that makes some of the film play like a really bad spoof and no depth whatsoever, while the pace goes to a standstill very quickly and drags on forever with very little going on worth caring about and useless padding, never recovering. Found too many the supposedly shocking and fun moments not surprising or suspenseful and the atmosphere dreary, due to the excessive obviousness, a lot of dumb and vague moments, attempts to take itself seriously (that it becomes over-serious) and explanations and the lack of tension and suspense. Would not have minded the lack of originality (the film is extremely derivative and in a dumbed and watered down way) if the story and atmosphere were at least alright in execution, in reality they were both very poorly done.
A lot of 'Higher Power' has underdeveloped plot elements and often nonsensical and confusing character motivations, while too many of the things to make you intrigued or shocked are far from creative, intriguing or tense. The ending makes the film finish on an incomplete and confused whimper, as well as a ridiculous one.
There is not enough threat, and what there is of it tends to be used poorly, it is completely unimaginative and more odd than creepy, completely failing to show any sense of horror or creativity. Everything here is neither creative, suspenseful or nail-biting and a lot of it makes very little sense and induces many face-palms. Some badly sagging momentum too that makes one lose interest too quickly too early. The direction is leaden and like their heart was not in it or ill at ease, with the chemistry between the characters and actors coming over as constantly random and aggressive with the subtlety of an axe.
Review by TheLittleSongbird from the Internet Movie Database.