Writer/director Dante Tomaselli's atmospheric and terrorizing first feature film. One of the most original horror films in recent years, "Desecration" is an eerily dazzling and genuinely frightening psychological chiller a... more »bout a beyond-the-grave relationship between a teenage boy and his long-dead mother. Bobby, a 16-year-old loner, has been emotionally damaged by his mother's early death and a repressive Catholic upbringing. The boy accidentally causes a nun's death, triggering a chain of supernatural events and violent mayhem that leads Bobby into Hell to confront his mother. Powerful childhood demons are exorcised and unleashed as the gates of Hell open in this gripping, hallucinatory film.« less
Robert B. (rbrown) from STARKVILLE, MS Reviewed on 1/31/2009...
Awful, awful film that inexplicably garnered some favorable reviews on the fanboy sites. Bobby accidentally kills a nun at his Catholic school, unleashing some sort of malevolent force that causes much havoc. Interesting visuals and camerawork cannot make up for the fact that this is a long string of setpieces without any frame to put them in. The film seems to be striving for a PHANTASM-esque vibe, but the difference between the two films is that PHANTASM was fun, and it at least offered some sort of explanation for all the strange events, wonky as that explanation was. This just hammers the viewer with all sorts of weirdness, then ends. I did, however, learn the important fact that nuns need exercise, too. To make the viewing of this film bearable, I suggest a drinking game: every time Matilda, Bobby's grandmother, genuflects, take a shot. You'll be drunk in no time, thus mitigating somewhat the torture of sitting through this movie.
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
An outstanding homage to Euro-horror of the 1970s
hippiedj | Palm Desert, CA USA | 12/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have a feeling that as soon as more people are exposed to Tomaselli's second feature "Horror," they'll be scrambling to get a copy of "Desecration" and sales for that will suddenly go up. It's a good feeling to be one of the first fans of this film.Those weened on "Scream"-influenced comedy/horror/pop soundtrack films will not find anything redeeming with this film, as it is very much a cerebral study. It is the only film in many years that has come anywhere close to capturing the style and mystery of the great 1970s Italian horror films in the vein of Bava and Argento. If you love that, then you won't mind that the plot is not easily played out and that you have to use your mind a bit to get through the story.A boy in a Catholic school accidentally kills a nun, and it either opens the gate to hell or he's plagued with guilt -- have fun figuring it out -- what follows is 88 minutes of hallucinatory images, scary nuns (the main ghoul still gives me extreme creeps), and a great score. Seems when someone wants to get out of Hell, that person would do just about anything! Sure, there are many low-budget things that those who enjoy "teen" fare will gripe about (most likely they'll whine about Irma St. Paule's hacking cough throughout the film or the death by remote control plane). I had no problem with the film's budget limitations, as Tomaselli is quite a visionary and makes up for any flaws with an abundance of ambition, style, and originality even when giving a nod to his influences. It's rare for me to be so excited by a discovery such as "Desecration," and I urge those with open minds to see why, in general, reviews from the press as well as lovers of obscure cinema are raving about this gem.I first got "Desecration" when it was higher-priced, and did not regret it. Now that the price is extremely low, you'll find that this DVD is a great bargain! My only complaint is that we get just an excerpt of the short film this was based on. Maybe someday if its cult status grows, we'll be treated to a special edition with commentary and more. Until then, I cherish this film as it's a treat with each additional viewing. Dane Tomaselli is a director to watch for, he's going to be revolutionizing horror and giving it new life, you can bet on it!This relatively unknown film ranks among one of my favorites. "Desecration" is truly a film done by a gifted talent and is for those who love surreal and imaginative storytelling!"
Jeffrey Leach | 06/11/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The biggest mystery is how many people (based on reviews here) seemingly enjoyed this poorly-directed, amateurish film. Trust me - rent this one before you even think about buying it. Better yet, forget about it completely. It's not frightening and it's definitely not comparable to Suspiria just because there's a few (pointless) scenes with red gel on smoke."
Not that shocking or haunting...
John K | 03/02/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Reading all the hype regarding this low budget horror film, I expected a film 10 times more creepy than the Britain made Woman in Black DVD. (Which was creepy, shocking and wonderful) Instead I watched a horror film that had some really great moments (faceless nuns wondering around...demon clowns teasing and taunting), but some really "ho-hum" moments too. (The toy plane scene was ridiculous as were several scenes that went nowhere.) The acting is mostly atrocious. The good points did not overcome the bad ones so this one gets a big fat "C"."
Creepy in spots
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 03/05/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A nun dies when a model airplane bores into her temple. A troubled youth watches a friend disappear into a hole in the ground. A mess of vines fills a dorm room while a young man lies on his bed in a stupor. Ominous clowns invade dreams. A pair of scissors soars through the air and stabs another nun to death. A ghostly apparition exuding an aura of spine chilling dread appears at random to terrorize the living. A grandmother with a hacking cough frets for her grandson's safety. A jigsaw puzzle has a mind of its own. An insane mother long dead makes herself felt from beyond the grave and from the deepest pits of Hell. Just another day down at the local church, right? Wrong! These elements are only a few of the disturbing images you will see in Dante Tomaselli's ultra low budget shocker "Desecration," a movie that none other than Image Entertainment decided to release on DVD. Someone in Tinseltown ought to give this guy a budget and a chance. "Desecration," in certain respects, is one of the better low budget shockers I have seen.The story focuses on Bobby, a lonely teenager attending a live-in Catholic school somewhere in New Jersey or New York (it's gotta be one of the two after hearing those accents). The kid's life is a mess, partly due to the oppressive atmosphere of the school and partly due to growing up in a household where the mother had a serious mental problem. Bobby's mother died years ago, apparently, and the only family he has left is his aging Italian grandmother and an uncle. His life begins a huge downward spiral when he accidentally kills a nun with his remote controlled airplane. Sadly for Bobby, the nun dies immediately after discovering that she couldn't light her candle during a ceremony in the chapel, an event the movie leads us to believe is some sort of unholy omen about the nun's spiritual state. Further confirmation of the nun's problematic relationship to God arrives when her spirit begins haunting the grounds of the school. Then she starts haunting Bobby in a big way, causing the young lad great stress. Bobby's grandmother and uncle enter the picture after learning about the nun's gruesome death, and they too experience extremely unpleasant encounters with the world of the dead. At some point in the film, it appears that the death of this nun opened a portal to the underworld through which Bobby's loony mother attempts to return to the world of the living. The horror, the horror!"Desecration" has plenty of flaws, plenty of painful, groan worthy cinematic agonies best forgotten. The script, for example, is often extremely tedious. Much of the dialogue simply doesn't make sense in the context of the larger story. Moreover, actors with all the allure of a block of lead deliver these lame lines. Probably the worst actor is the young male priest who turns up from time to time to hassle Bobby. Where did Tomaselli find this guy? The morgue? Regrettably, the rest of the cast isn't much better. As for the special effects, it's a mixed bag. The scissor killing worked in a sort of cheesy way, but that model plane to the head scene towards the beginning of the movie was memorable for the sheer hilarity of the whole thing. You can tell the actress is just holding the plane up to her head while she hams up her death sequence. I see a few people comparing Tomaselli to Dario Argento and even, lord help us, Mario Bava. Now that's just ridiculous. Tomaselli's movie in no way captures the magic of Argento or Bava, not in any way, shape, or form, and to make such a comparison is blasphemy of the most subversive sort.What did work with "Desecration," and worked very well, were certain eerie scenes involving the spirit of the dead nun. She's a creepy lady when she turns up to harass the living. Check out the part where Bobby's relatives are cruising down the highway and the nun turns up on the side of the road. As the car passes by at high speed, you can see the ghastly face of the nun glare into the car as it moves by. I thought the scene was highly effective. I also liked the flashback/dream sequence where Bobby sees his warped mother tormenting him in his crib. And wouldn't you know it? At some point in the film the faces of the deceased nun and Bobby's mother look strikingly familiar. What's the message? Who knows, but it works and helps give what is otherwise a tepid film a few memorable moments."Desecration" on disc comes with a few extras, most notably a short film made by Tomaselli that served as the impetus for the lengthier feature. Additionally, the film comes with a widescreen picture transfer, surprising for such a low budget effort. I see most people spend a lot of time knocking this movie down, and it is certainly easy to do so on several major points, but I'm going to have to go against the grain with my review. I liked "Desecration" to some extent, so let's give three stars to Tomaselli for crafting a few creepy scenes. I truly think this director could do as good a job with a bigger budget as some of the hacks that churn out some of the studio sludge I have witnessed over the last few months (Ghost Ship, anyone?). Fans of low budget horror might want to check this one out."
Looks good but leaves you with no answers
A. Griffiths | London | 10/02/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Apparently "Desecration" is a low budget, independant film. Well, I will give it full credit for working on a low budget as it visually belies such humble origins. The film looks wonderful most of the time. Sadly, what it doesn't have is a decent story.
There really isn't much plot to describe. What I do know is that a boy called Bobby is currently attending a religeous school, and his life is blighted by two tragedies. First was the loss of his mother at an early age, and more recently his accidental killing of a nun by his out of control model aircraft which flies into her face, killing her outright (!). But from this early promising start, the film almost immediately gets lost in constant and unexplained "surreal" imagery. The young boy is haunted and hounded by apparitions of the dead nun, and the rest of the school is similarly troubled, as other nuns start to experience various paranormal manifestations, including one quite startling sequence (probably the one most people are going to remember) in which a nun is attacked by a floating pair of scissors. Bobby starts suffering from vivid and macabre nightmares in which he is chased by clowns or attacked by the ghoulish dead nun or surrounded by evil sprouting plants. Some of them involve his dead mother, but why does she appear to be the same person as the nun who was killed by the model aeroplane?
This all looks very impressive on screen, but after about 60 minutes of such whacky imagery, it started to dawn on me that the film didn't really have a lot else to offer other than this. And even though I was concentrating, the amount of screen time devoted to explaining what on earth was going on was about 45 seconds worth - it's during Bobby's grandmother's visit to a clairvoyant who blurts out the only clue in the whole movie - and a pretty daft one it is too. So prepare yourself for a very pretty ride but with no resolution or explanation of the sights along the way. Although a lot of the visuals are really good - the scissor attack and some of Bobby's hallucinations like the changing painting of a nun that he watches on a wall - they have to be linked up by something a bit better than this. Don't get me wrong, I do like surreal cinema, and enjoy an enigmatic horror movie, like, say "Lisa and The Devil". But Dante Tomaselli is no Mario Bava, and he needs to go a long way before equalling that kind of level. And even "Lisa" has an ending... "Desceration" has none! The film just stops, with not a single plot line tied up - I could scarely believe my eyes when the end credits started rolling, as I felt like I deserved some kind of pay-off for devoting 90 minutes to watching the thing.
Sorry, but for me this is extremely unsatisfying. There are two ways this might have worked: it either needed to explain the plot properly, or else just give the whole film over to the hallucinatory experiences of the central character. I can cope with intentional illogicality, but I don't honestly think the film is supposed to be quite so confusing. I think it just fails to successfully serve the story that is supposed to go with the evocative imagery. And the lack of an ending is unforgiveable."