Let's begin at the beginning: this is an apocalyptic, supernatural horror movie (from the writer of HIGHLANDER, no less), apparently popular enough to spawn four sequels, starring Christopher Walken as the Archangel Gabriel,
a character with bizarrely 'wig-like' slicked-back hair, who is defined mostly by his propensity for perching on things
and his profound, nearly Trumpian sniffing:
who is probably based on the "Angel of Death" character from a Madonna music video.
In "Bad Girl" (1993), Walken's just sniffin'
and perchin' all over the place.
Did I mention we also also have Eric Stolz (as the Archangel "Simon") looking all Jesus-y and
also perching on lots of things, like the best of them.
We have Elias Koteas lending serious pathos as a priest-turned-detective:
SEINFELD's "Kenny Bania" (Steve Hytner) in an oddly serious role:
Adam Goldberg dealing with some serious limbo/substance abuse:
Virginia Madsen looking seriously sad all the time:
and Amanda Plummer doing some serious gurgling in a hospital bed:
Wait a minute, why is this all so serious?! This is a movie about creepy-wacky Archangels that sniff and perch on things, it should be kind of fun, right?
When we're given visions of a battle in heaven, I was reminded of ARMY OF DARKNESS
and immediately wished that I was watching ARMY OF DARKNESS instead. Or at least TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT.
By the time Viggo Mortensen shows up as Satan
Two of Cronenberg's faves sharing a tender, sniffin' moment––Viggo (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, EASTERN PROMISES) and Elias (CRASH).
(also perching on things, come to think of it)
Allow me to quote a line from THE PROPHECY:
"And in the end, I think it must be about faith, and if faith is a choice, then it can be lost––for a man, an angel, or the devil himself. And if faith means never completely understanding God's plan, then maybe understanding just a part of it ––our part––is what it is to have a soul. And maybe in the end, that's what being human is, after all."
Dear lord, I believe I've stumbled upon the problem. I wanted this to feel like PRINCE OF DARKNESS or HELLRAISER or DEMON KNIGHT––hell, I would have even taken END OF DAYS... but instead, watching this movie feels like going to church. THE PROPHECY is not a horror movie. It's a sanctimonious Hallmark Channel drama masquerading as a horror movie. THE PROPHECY tricks you into thinking you're buying tickets to a Black Sabbath concert, but really it's a 'hip' Christian rock festival called Whack Sabbath. THE PROPHECY approaches you at the mall, and you think, wow, you're getting a coupon for a free Orange Julius, but really you're being handed a pamphlet that asks, "Are you saved?" THE PROPHECY is a breaking news alert about "War!" and after you scramble to click the link, you see they mean the War on Christmas. PROPHECY is a better movie, and PROPHECY is a movie about mutant bears directed by a blacked-out drunk John Frankenheimer. I could go on. But I won't. Um, Amen.
[Also worth mentioning: there are a number of elements (including the Weinsteins) that this movie shares in common with Kevin Smith's DOGMA, and while the flavors couldn't be more different, I feel pretty confident that THE PROPHECY served as at least a partial inspiration.]