Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Second Look: Believers Review

Believers Box Cover

Today I introduce to you a new on going series of writings that I will add to the site periodically. I am titling these "Second Look" and I will take another look at previously reviewed films. The second time around I will focus not on the story and dvd as a whole but more over the tones and scary notions that I think of while watching the film or thinking about the film. These won't be as frequent as reviews, but it is an important thing for this site, as I dwell on a lot of films even after reviewing them.

Disclaimer: This second look does not mean to shove religion down anyone's throat, but rather it is a wake up call of sorts for those of you that may not question a lot of things. I'm a christian, and even in my faith I question a lot of things and don't like to just be fed dogma.

I reviewed Believers before, but today I decided to take a second look.

Believers is a straight to dvd movie that was directed by Daniel Myrick who directed “The Blair Witch Project”. The story is simple and straight forward, as it follows two paramedics and how they uncover an ends time cult.

Here’s a trailer for the movie Believers:

The film isn’t very well made, and it was released through Raw Feed, who also did “Rest Stop”, “Sublime”, “Otis” and “Rest Stop 2”. This is the epitome of straight to dvd fair, but the horror found here is two fold and I wanted to take a second look to talk about it.

First and foremost the fear of cults is real. I’m not too scared now, but when I lived in Los Angeles, I would get visited by Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and other people trying to convince me of their religious beliefs. Now, I’m not overtly just shoving these religions down throats, and I’m not openly going to debate the religious connotations involved with all these religions, but the fact that people believe these people in droves is scary. The more you dive into these religions via books like “Kingdom of the Cults” or “Cults in Our Midst” you start to see how coerced people are that are joining these cults. This film depicts the end result, rather then the recruiting process.

Cults are nothing too new in our society. I recently saw “Witness to Jonestown” and was in near tears at points when survivors talked about the final hours of Jonestown, alongside footage of the final hours, and how gripping the whole scenario played out. If you’re not familiar with Jonestown, here’s the very condensed version: Jim Jones was a preacher that came along and convinced thousands of people that they were called to help the poor, take in widows, help others and love God. With that he started a church and gained major influence on people and politics. He then convinced his group to move to the jungles of South America and build a utopian community. All was going seemingly well until family members started to get concerned and a news crew alongside a senator flew to Jonestown and discovered some very awful things overall. What happened next was the biggest mass suicide of religious proportions in recent history. Few survived and roughly 1,000 people died. It was sad.

The idea of a diehard doomsday cult scares me and scares a lot of people. What saddens me is the fact that people jump into these things and they are sincere! They are not brain washed initially, they start with good intentions, and somehow it just snowballs. Heaven’s Gate Cult is another example that is quite scary and each of those followers died via suicide, convinced that they are going to get onto a comet. Cults are nothing new, and I recommend everyone read a little about them and not be deceived by anything out right. Do your homework! Don’t be droids, please.

Believers Ending Spoiler

The second scary issue that has been on my mind recently is the “What If?” factor that is involved with this film. The ending is not the traditional ending, as the cult was right! Sorry for spoiling it for you guys, but come on, you saw that coming if you read my review of Believers previously. The Cult warns of a coming end of the world, and as one of the paramedics closes the door we see the beginning of the comets hitting earth and the end of life as we know it. Being a Christian, I personally have heard so many debates over the book of Revelations and the “end of days”, that I have a hard time believing any new analysis of the book. I personally am putting my trust in God and not going to blindly follow any end days ideology. However, the Bible is not the only thing that talks about the end times. The Y2K scare was huge, and some were calling for the end of days, and we had nothing. But there was enough hysteria that I personally knew people that were stock piling water and supplies because things were going south fast. Books were published and I wasn’t fooled. Some thing that 2012 is going to bring the end thanks to the Mayan Calendar and most likely won’t inspire the end. Myself being alive for whatever the end of the world is, scares me a great deal. I don’t dwell on it, but it is one of the only things in life that can make me sick to my stomach.

Believers is NOT a great film. However, taking a second look, it has enough of a push into cult behavior to trigger some messed up dreams. The what if factor, combined with the real life cults that abound, create a moody little piece of cinema, and so I recommend checking Believers at least once, and see if that closing of the door towards the end doesn’t freak you out a little bit.

Simpsons Movementarian

As a Bonus, to lighten the mood, cults are not an old topic. They were the subject of a hilarious romp on the Simpsons! Marge ends up escaping from the clutches of “The Leader” and it was a hilarious episode from Season 9. Cults in the mainstream are also not new, as we heard of a polygamy case recently. Also do you recall Waco Texas? There was a big cult there too. Point is, we are fragile people sometimes, and this film might not be overtly about cults at large, but it made my brain think a little more than usual, and you know what? That’s why horror is important.

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  1. Fantastic Review Jorge!!
    I really like this idea!

    I thought that this movie was very good, and I loved the ending!! [I can't believe that you ruined it though!] :-)

  2. thanks!

    The movie was good after the second viewing. I didn't like it the first time through, but then I started thinking about it more and more, and realized that it is nightmarish in a lot of ways.

  3. Hey, I'm a Christian too. Well, now I have to see the movie. I really like exploring the ideas of deception and counterfeit truths and the little near misses in theological thought that create a whole subset of odd cults. So, I HAVE to see this. -C


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A writer first, cat lover second, and some other stuff too. Human, with lots of faults, and terrible communication.
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