Eye For Film >> Movies >> Prince Of Darkness (1987) Film Review
A group of science students spend a weekend in an abandoned church investigating a seven-million-year-old cannister and its swirling green contents. Yes, that's right, this is a horror movie and not a very original one at that. The swirling green liquid is pure evil; cue the students dying one by one in increasingly gruesome ways. Will any of them be left at the end to stop Satan from escaping and taking over the world? I'm sure you can guess.
Whilst all the actors acquit themselves comfortably, with no weak links, it's Donald Pleasence as the priest who gives the finest performance. His character has an extra dimension over the others, and he makes it count. He may be acting in "just" a horror movie, but he is a joy to watch.
One of the strengths of Prince of Darkness over other formulaic horror flicks is its plot pacing. John Carpenter doesn't fall into the trap of packing all the story into the first five minutes and then offering nothing but mindless death for the next 90. The doubt and tension created over what is going on gives the scary moments an extra edge. Carpenter's direction and musical score and Gary B Kibbe's cinematography perfectly accentuates this feel to the film.
Prince of Darkness has no pretensions beyond scaring its audience. You might want to question why Satan doesn't just open up the cannister and escape, given that it can only be opened from the inside, but, before you do, someone has been impaled on half a bicycle. You might want to question how this sealed can of Diet Satan can spit evil into the world outside, but, before you do, someone's body is riddled with cockroaches.
You will be scared and you will jump, which is all that can be asked of from a horror movie. Fans of the genre won't go far wrong.Reviewed on: 13 Oct 2002