LONG NIGHT, THE
(director: Rich Ragsdale; screenwriters: Robert Sheppe, Mark Young; cinematographer: Pierluigi Malavasi; editor: Jay Gartland; music: Sherri Chung; cast: Scout Taylor-Compton (Grace Covington), Nolan Gerard Funk (Jack Cabot), Deborah Kara Unger (The Master), Jeff Fahey (Wayne), King Orba (Frank Caldwell), Kevin Ragsdale (Wade), Scott Daniel (Torch Coven Member), Wendy Oates (Coveness); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producers; Vasily Bernhardt, Daemon Hillin, Ryan R. Johnson, Martin Sprock: Well Go USA Entertainment; 2022)
“Stylish but overlong and inert horror pic.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The stylish but overlong and inert horror pic is directed by Rich Ragsdale (The Curse of El Charro“) and written by Robert Sheppe and Mark Young. It feels lumpy as if its story was made up on the fly while filming and never was resolved.
The cult Devil film is divided into 7 chapters.
The thirty-something Grace (Scout Taylor-Compton) was a resident in several foster homes as a child, and never knew anything about her real parents except they were from the South. Interested in finding her real parents, she’s helped by her supportive boyfriend, Jack (Nolan Gerard Funk), who has been helping her search from his NYC apartment.
After receiving a tip, they venture to the South to meet the mysterious Frank Caldwell (King Orba) in his plantation home, who has done research on her family and wishes to share it with her.
So the couple trek South by car and when they find the plantation in the desolate woods, a weirdness kicks in–as the couple come across signs of demon-worship in the house and in the surrounding woods. The couple is then confronted by Wayne (Jeff Fahey), who claims to be a friend of the house’s absent owner, Mr. Caldwell. The couple’s cell phone is missing and their car is damaged so it won’t run, and they are surrounded by the robed group of menacing horn masked devil worshippers carrying torches. A few in that group invade the house and assault Jack and make Grace scream again (she’s a good screamer).
Well, the explanation for this scary intrusion is found in a book located in the house that’s written in Latin. It tells of an encounter between pilgrims and a snake-demon some four hundred years earlier, with a prophecy about the return of the malevolent being. That Jack has no trouble translating the Latin, which he says is because he studied the language in Catholic school–becomes the film’s best and funniest line.
The leader of the robed group, the high priestess, comes forward, who is called the Master (Deborah Kara Unger). She makes things as clear as mud, as she tells us this is the “long night,” the perfect convergence of equinox and planetary arrangement for the return of the demon, and that Grace was lured here to be part of the ritual. Now I think I got it, this is another Rosemary’s Baby but without the baby or Rosemary, just some regular run-of-the-mill Devils running around.
Scenes filled with writhing snakes and bizarre rituals sub for a missing plot. It’s success is that it sure looks as good as many other scary B-horror films even if not scary, and that it’s technically well-made, the musical score by Sherri Chung satisfactorily tingles and the photography by DP Pierluigi Malavasi is atmospheric. But without a good story or good acting, this turns out to be a half-baked horror pic not worth watching if you value how you spend your time.
REVIEWED ON 2/25/2022 GRADE: C