About This Item

Preview Image for The Ungodly
The Ungodly (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000117742
Added by: David Beckett
Added on: 29/6/2009 12:16
View Changes

Other Reviews, etc
  • Log in to Add Reviews, Videos, Etc
  • Places to Buy

    Searching for products...

    The Ungodly

    5 / 10

    Although this begins just as the press release lead me to believe it would, the appearance of the title 'The Perfect Witness' was a little puzzling.  However this is the US DVD title and was the title on the trailer - in my opinion it is a better name for the film as it reflects the content better and doesn't sound so exploitative. 
    Anyway, the film begins in a dark alley where Mickey Gravatski crouches behind a dumpster and films a man push a woman up against a wall and proceeds to stab her to death before mutilating the corpse by removing her eyes.  As events unfold we learn that this isn't a random encounter as Mick (the killer calls him Mickey) has been following James Lemac for a while and become fascinated by him and what he does.  After escaping the killer in the alleyway, Mick sends him a copy of the tape and asks for a meeting and, in a park, they sit on a bench and Lemac asks Mick what he wants.  He replies that he is an aspiring filmmaker and wants to make a documentary about Lemac showing what makes him tick and why he kills.  In return for his co-operation, Mick will not send the tape to the police so Lemac agrees. 
    As events progress Mick digs deeper into Lemac's past and finds himself drawn into the dark heart of what a serial killer does, ultimately becoming involved.  If this sounds a little familiar, it is more or less the same plot as in Man Bites Dog, the brilliant Belgian thriller/horror directed by Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel and Benoît Poelvoorde where a documentary crew follow a serial killer and find themselves drawn into his crimes to the extent where they aid him.

    Inline Image

    I was a little bemused by the casting as, if you want someone to spend most of the film with a camera, why choose Wes Bentley who, despite his Grizzly Adams beard, is still Ricky Fitts from American Beauty who spent most of that film either with a camera in his hand or viewing stuff that he had filmed.  Despite this Bentley does a decent job, looking a little like the recovering addict that he is supposed to portray and Mark Borkowski is able to come across as both loving and sadistic depending on whether he is a dutiful family man or serial killer. 
    This is a small project, written and directed by Thomas Dunn, with Mark Borkowski also sharing writing credits and Wes Bentley even appearing in the credits as an associate producer.  There are dangers with directors having creative control as they can lose their objectivity and, though while there are exceptions, most notably Citizen Kane, I never like seeing a top billed actor given a production or writing credit; as Alfred Hitchcock opined, "all actors should be treated like cattle" and that approach turned out okay for him. 
    Inline Image

    All in all this is an interesting look at what makes a murderer though it does go for the rather overused option of a troubled kid who was abused by his mother and went on to torture and kill animals before growing up and moving on to humans.  Dr. Lecter he is not - there is nothing complex or particularly frightening about James Lemac that would add him to the list of great cinematic killers.

    The Disc

    The Picture
    The Ungodly is well shot and given a decent transfer; the use of the video camera works well as the film cuts from an establishing shot to Mickey's camera's viewpoint and back which can be disconcerting and unsettling though we, just like Mickey, both want violence and are repulsed when it happens.
    The Sound
    A clear enough surround soundtrack though nothing spectacular and there is one scene where heavy metal music is presumably used to reflect the angst and rage in Lemac's mind just as Mickey shoots up and becomes unstable. 
    Inline Image

    Final Thoughts
    Metrodome release a great deal of horror films and, in some cases, this approach of quantity over quality is evident.  The Ungodly has been given a bare bones disc with no subtitles and only a trailer which might qualify as an extra feature and this is pretty typical of Metrodome releases; this should also have been released under the title The Perfect Witness for reasons outlined earlier.  However, it is always good to see these films released so that they see the light of day and are available for genre fans to rent and/or buy.  It isn't a great film but there are much worse things to watch on a wet weekend.

    Your Opinions and Comments

    Be the first to post a comment!