The Chosen (2015) *1/2
D: Ben Jehoshua
C: Kian Lawley, Angelica Chitwood, Mykayla Sohn, Elizabeth Keener, Chris Gann, Casey James Knight, Dayna Devon, Emily Killian, Barbara Goodson
Plot Synopsis: When a child-stealing demon attaches itself to a little girl, her family is thrust into a battle against time in order to save the girl and send the demon back to hell.
Review: Within the first seven (7) minutes of The Chosen, we get to witness the following:
-An opening scene with a baby crying and a mom standing over the crib saying "God forgive me". As the camera pans over to the side, we see a person who's been beaten up & tied down. Turns out this person is the sister of the mom character we just watched standing over the crib saying "God forgive me".
Dear old mom draws some kind of symbol on her sister's forehead (in blood, none the less). Then the mom stands over to the side praying, while the sister starts to scream. An assortment of horror like noises play out letting us know that something bad, something really bad is happening to the sister. From this, we go into....
-A title sequence
-A post credits sequence in which a family is gathered around the table for breakfast. During this sequence we meet the following characters:
-A wheelchair bound grandfather who's had a stroke and can't speak. He sits there with bug eyes & crazy hair while his granddaughter tries to shove food down his throat.
-A frustrated mom who's being pulled every which way.
-A slacker uncle who's unemployment check is running late.
-A grandmother screaming that she can't find her pill.
-A teenager who feels frustrated about all of this.
-A random scene involving a creepy cellar complete with a bloody rat stuck in a mousetrap.
-A scene with a little girl showing a picture she drew of her dead twin brother going to heaven.
-Talks of the little girl's mom being a drug addict.
-Talks of another character being a former alcoholic who's been sober for 12 years.
One word that came to mind as all of this was playing out: Edit!
From there, we see a domestic violence type situation play out. A creepy nun who mysteriously disappears on que. Talks of how the little girl is now one of "The Chosen". Meaning that, she's now being token over by an entity. This entity turns out to be Lilith. As the film explains, Lilith was the first wife of Adam, as in Adam & Eve. Lilith was banished by God, so for revenge, she now steals the souls of children, but there's one way to stop her. All you gotta do is sacrifice six people from the same bloodline as "The Chosen".
This forms the plot, so to speak. Our main character has to select six family members to sacrifice to Lilith in order to save his niece. Part of the film's hook is actually quite good - Are six lives worth the price of one child's life? However, did they really need to add in the Lilith and Adam & Eve references?
That's the general problem with The Chosen. It's as though no one knows how to exercise some perceptive muscle and show restraint. The score is over bearing and used excessively. The makeup is over the top. Some characters look clownish, while others have a synthetic look. The film is supposed to be ticking clock type situation, yet some of the characters have enough time to perfectly coiffe their hair. The costuming is off. Two characters don a preppy style. They end up looking like something straight out of a comedy spoof. The CGI is not only downright silly looking, but used far too much.
There's a scene with Lilith coming out from under a bed to claim a sacrifice. In all the other scenes, Lilith appears as a black cloud or mist. Why is she all of a sudden taking a physical form to claim this one soul? That's not the worst of it though. As visualized, Lilith looks like something straight from a 90's video game. Not only does the CGI look dated, but it's being used for the sake of throwing in CGI effects. However, the icing on the cake is that when Lilith appears, the character being sacrificed utters ridiculous one liners all in an effort to sensationalize the scene. Less is more!
Starring in the lead role is Kian Lawley. His performance isn't perfect, but he has an easy going, appealing type quality. Not being familiar with Kian and seeing his name plastered on the artwork, I looked him up on IMDB. Turns out he's a Youtube star. I watched some of Kian's videos out of curiosity. In those videos, Kian has an over the top personality that makes him entertaining. In The Chosen, he's scaled back on the theatrics to try and deliver an authentic performance.
The people behind this should've followed Kian's lead in that they should've scaled back on the over the top or unnecessary embellishments and focused on the story & characters at hand. [Not Rated] 88 minutes.
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