Directed by Ian David Diaz
Produced by Michael Derbas
Written by Julian Boote and Ian David Diaz
Director of Photograpy Alan Dunlop
Music by Michael Neilson
Cast: Jeff Fahey, Michael Ironside, Esme Elliot, Kai Wiesinger, Cassandra Bell, Dallas Campbell
Full-frame/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Monarch Home Video DVD
There will always be those who want to make movies, and as long as those people can scrape together $1.78, there will always be slasher films, although they haven't really been in vogue for years. FALLEN ANGELS is the perfect example of this trend, as this low-budget cheapie not only delves into the slasher genre, but ropes in as many other horror cliches as possible. Three popular girls at the Holy Angels School for Girls, Natalie (Elly Fairman), Jade (Cassandra Bell), and Laurie (Emma Willis), decide to play a practical joke on the class outcast Nell "Freaky" Fisher (Esme Elliot), by setting her up on a fake date, and then pelting her with paintgun pellets. As if that weren't enough to ruin Nell's weekend, once back at the school, she is attacked by Dr. Leighton (Jeff Fahey), her history teacher. As they struggle, a fire breaks out, and just as Nell escapes, with assistance from security guard Ed Rooney (Michael Ironside), the school explodes and is engulfed in flames.
Five years later, Natalie is a struggling actress. Her agent (Melissa Simonetti) suggests that they make a documentary about the Holy Angels fire. Natalie agrees, and soon a film crew, along with Jade, Laurie, and a reluctant Nell, are back at the scene of the disaster. In addition, Brett (Dallas Campbell), a parapsychologist is brought on board, as the school has a long history of paranormal activity. As they begin to shoot the film, a masked killer begins slaughtering those in and around the school. Could it be Natalie's jealous ex-boyfriend, or is it a ghostly presence from the past? As the bodies begin to pile up, the frightened females must flee for their lives.
Occasionally, you'll come across a direct-to-video film which offers something original. Unfortunately, FALLEN ANGELS isn't that movie. The film is rife with hackneyed plot points and ideas, and only a twist during the finale (which was, of course, lifted from a recent hit) offers any kind of surprise. From the opening prank, to the death scenes, to the chase through the abandoned school, the film is an exercise in "seen it before". That would be OK, if the film had anything else to offfer, but the murders in FALLEN ANGELS are quite tame, and despite the presence of six attractive women, there is no nudity or sex. At times, the movie feels like a GOOSEBUMPS special with added profanity. Director Ian David Diaz does manage some atmosphere at times, but the pacing is sluggish, and I found myself fast-forwarding quite a bit. The acting is OK, save for a black character named Shaft, who has the oddest voice which sounds as if it were dubbed by Vin Diesel. And don't be fooled by the presence of "famous" actors. Fahey and Ironside aren't in the film for long, and their roles are merely glorified cameos. And I enjoy suspending disbelief as much as the next guy, but if the school was destroyed in a fire, how come everything is exactly as the girl's remember it? FALLEN ANGELS brings nothing new to the genre, and epitomizes the direct-to-video quickie.
As the film itself aims for the lowest common denominator, so does the FALLEN ANGELS DVD. The film is presented full-frame in a pan-and-scan format. And, as I'm unaware of the original aspect ratio of the film, it was clearly shot in something wider than 1.33:1, as any movement by the camera or a character results in immediate blurring of the image and artifacting. Some shots are oddly framed, and characters are constantly left hanging off of the frame. The image shows some sharpness, but grain is present throughout. The colors are acceptable, but some scenes are overly dark. The 2-channel stereo audio track provides clear dialogue and sound effects, but the lack of any surround sound effects adds to the low-budget air of the film. The DVD contains no extras, save for a chapter menu. The DVD cover is intriguing, as it features the main women in the film, but the DVD contains no insert.
Note: there is no extras on this DVD.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©