April 23, 2019

Revisiting a Murder: The Crow: Wicked Prayer

By the time The Crow: Wicked Prayer arrived in 2005, the franchise was already on life support. The movie had a brief one-week theatrical premiere before being unceremoniously dumped to the video market. To be fair, the movie really isn’t that good, it looks bad even next to the prior outing, the also direct to video The Crow: Salvation. With that said, as I revisit the film now, I still see it as a bad movie, but there are things that I have come to like about it. It is like there are good elements in spite of its efforts to be a bad movie. Overall, the feel is not unlike that of the latter Hellraiser sequels, made as a reason to hang on to the license.

I will give them the initial credit of not trying to make a bad movie. If anything, it seems to be hampered by not having a budget. What makes me feel his way (besides the budget, which I cannot find any reference to)? The first is the eclectic cast that includes Edward Furlong (in the title role), Emmanuelle Chriqui, UFC fighter Tito Ortiz, Tara Reid, David Boreanaz, Danny Trejo, and Dennis Hopper (who clearly recognizes the bad movie he is in and acts accordingly). It is loaded with recognizable faces, that you would think they were trying to make something good. Moreso than the cast, it is the director choice.

The movie was directed by and the screenplay was co-written by Lance Mungia. That is a name that instills a little hope. Wait, what? You’ve never heard of Lance Mungia? All right, I will let that slide. He was the writer director of the cult film Six String Samurai. A post apocalyptic type story where Las Vegas is the one free land left and it is ruled by King Elvis. It is an odd little movie, you should see it. His direction here is a bit more mundane, but you can still get a little sense of his quirkiness.

As for the story, it was adapted from a Crow novel, bearing the same subtitle as the movie, written by Norman Partridge. The story follows Death (Boreanaz), an escaped convict, his girlfriend Lola (Reid), and his gang of War, Famine, and Pestilence, ad they attempt to bring Lucifer to Earth. I must say, these are the least convincing Satanists I have ever seen on the big screen. To that end, they murder Jimmy Cuervo (Furlong) and his girlfriend Lilly (Chriqui). Lilly’s father is the town pastor and her brother is the town sheriff, and neither one likes Jimmy, who also happens to be an ex-con.

Well, Jimmy is brought back by the Crow to have his revenge on the four horsemen for what they did to Lilly and himself. He then starts working his way through the food chain. None of it is really acted or staged all that well, but this revisit find the whole thing slightly endearing. From the efforts Jimmy goes to to be with Lilly, how blinded by hate the sheriff has for Jimmy, how completely unconvincing the gang is, and then there is Dennis Hopper, sorry, El Nino, who does nothing but chew up the scenery every moment he is on screen.

The movie is pretty indefensible, so I do not expect anyone to like it. For me, however, there is something about the Crow franchise and the use of the growing Crow mythos over the film series that I quite like. It will never be a go to, but it will be an occasional craving I will get to watch it. I think I like it for what it wants to be more than it is. It tries to expand the mythos and mix in some new elements. While not successful, it is respectable.

Then again, there is the make up. The way it is introduced works, being part of a festival get up. However, the end result makes him look like a Robert Smith cosplayer. It is easily the worst looking makeup of the series.

Yes, The Crow: Wicked Prayer is a bad movie, whether you want to blame the performances, direction, writing, execution, or budget, you would probably be right. Still, there are many movies that are considerably worse, and this one has some endearing elements to me. In all the films in the reason for vengeance always affects me. The feeling of pain, loss, anguish, and desire for revenge just really works for me. It affects my emotional side and my desire to see bad guys get their comeuppance.

In the end, I enjoy it, least of the franchise of course. It doesn’t deserve the hatred and vitriol that it gets, and that’s when it gets any attention at all. I enjoyed this revisit and I think it deserves to be viewed with a bit of an optimistic eye.



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