Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So back in the day THE MAN decided to make a new type of human being. Sounds suspect already. These brand new people look and sound just like us but they are stronger, smarter, and they donít get sick. I think the plan for these new people was to use them as servants and soldiers and the like but how long is it going to be before somebody who is bigger, stronger and smarter than you is going to determine that serving you is total bullshit? The Man and his crap ideas, I tell you. So there was a war, the bigger, stronger smarter people won this war, they renamed themselves The Gen and created a paradise beneath the earth as not to be bothered with the inferior homo sapiens any longer. But homo sapiens are a sneaky bunch, at least this is what certain high ranking members of The Gen would have you believe, and life would be better if they just didnít exist at all. Thus we have the groundwork for writer / director Stewart St. Johnís independent sci-fi feature ĎDark Metropolisí, a movie I had heard was simply terrible. Itís not. It has some challenges, to be certain, but I found it interesting. However I am also on record as stating I do not care for movies with open ended conclusions, particularly when the next part of the story is nowhere to found. That still hasnít changed.

This underground world is lorded over by Crecilius Pryme (Eric Scott Woods) of the House of Pryme. Heís not the president or anything like that but he is The Baron, kind of like the Attorney General or the FBI Director, and he is whipping everybody up in a frenzy over the threat of the human menace. It doesnít appear that humans, who are broken, beaten and destitute living above ground are much of a threat, but not to hear Crecilius tell it.

Crecilius also dotes on his baby brother Aiden (Bailey Chase) who has a strong desire to join Creciliusí legion of Ministers, or the executors of the brutal justice that keeps these frightened humans in line. Hannalin (Pamela Clay), the mother of these men, is disappointed in both of her sons. She finds Creciliusí propaganda rhetoric against the humans completely distasteful, seeing humans as people with families and feelings that should be left alone, and sheís especially disappointed in Aidenís career choices,

hoping her youngest son would accept a much more respectable, prestigious position with the local university. So much for that.

Above ground the humans are a complete mess but they do have hope in the form a young woman called The Channeler (Kristy Jean Hulslander). Every once in a while the young lady becomes possessed and gives the sermons of a mystical group of people who spout cryptic saying and messages as mystical people tend to do. Crecilius knows this woman is dangerous and wants her found and destroyed because she offers hope, and hope is a dangerous seed to plant. One of this Channelerís cryptic babblings speaks of a man, who is now blind, but who will soon be able to see and will eventually lead them all out of damnation. Whoever this person might be, he needs to be tracked down and destroyed as well. Then, unfortunately, everything everybody thought they knew kind of all goes haywire pitting brother against brother with the fate of the world in the balance. Or not. I have to watch part two to find that out and Lord only knows if and when thatís coming.

To say the least St. Johnís movie is an ambitious undertaking given the limitations that I assume the man was working with. Creating an underground fascist utopian society on a limited budget canít be an easy thing to do but with the clever use of some locations, some nice lighting, a few floor length dusters and an awful lot of eyeliner, I think my man pulled it off about as well as can be expected.

Even though the concept of man messing around with genetics is a well worn one, just like science fiction fascism is also well worn, I enjoyed the direction this story took with its approach to the genre. The performances were solid, particularly Pamela Clay as the concerned mother who has her hand forced and Catherine Lazo doing her best Lady Macbeth to Bailey Chaseís somewhat pathetic and easily manipulated Lord Macbeth. Eric Scott Woods as Crecilius Iím not so sure about considering he tended to overact, scream and shriek at every instance which got a little irritating after a while.

Did I understand the concept of the mystical spirits who possessed people? Hell no. They also edited in a jumbled up timeline in this movie and didnít let you know right off the bat that this timeline was out of a sequence which only served mainly to confuse. Certain elements, as this movie played on, became more confusing leaving me to wonder where in the world itís trying to go, and thereís the fact that the movie that doesnít end. OhÖ I do not like that. I mean this movie isnít even close to ending. Credits rolled and stuff, but nothing is resolved. You see if I didnít care for this movie, like other opinions I have read, which to be honest are little mean-spirited, I wouldnít have minded an open ended conclusion but I was engaged for the most part. Heck, I donít know if itís even fair to call it Ďopen-endedí because that suggest that you can come to your own conclusion. Canít do that here. Have to wait for the next movie.

I can feel where St. John where trying to go with Dark Metropolis for the most part and I was with him for most of the rideÖ but I do not like movies that do not end. I really donít.

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