So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I was catching up. I was only two behind, and now I still am.
Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.
There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. The next one was:
This Present Darkness (Darkness #1) by Frank Peretti
Frank Peretti is one of my favorite authors. In fact I was able to meet him once and totally fangirled over him. But he was super nice as he autographed my books and actually spent a long time talking to me. It made the other people in line mad, and I can’t blame them, but I didn’t care as I had just met FRANK PERETTI!
Frank Peretti started out being a pastor, but discovered that it wasn’t the life for him. He drifted from job to job, and while working in a snowshoe factory he wrote his first novel, and this book, This Present Darkness. He has now written over 30 books for adults, teens, and children. His books are amazing as they always have great, realistic characters, action, adventure, suspense, and a moral message. Every time I read his works I feel great!
This book is about a small town Ashton that becomes the battleground in a war between angels and demons.
Rafar the prince of Babylon is taking over, using his followers to take over the town and its college in order to indoctrinate the students into believing their untruths. They also have city council, board members, the police chief, and the pastor of a mega church in their court.
On the other side we have a pastor of a small church, Rev. Hank Busche, a true prayer warrior. He was brought in accidentally, and unable to be controlled. He kneels every morning in prayer for his town fighting the only way he can.
Marshall Hogan, editor of the Ashton newspaper, becomes involved when his reporter Bernice Krueger sees something she shouldn’t. After she is falsely arrested, so that the police can tamper with evidence, Marshall and Bernice try to blow the top off the coverup.
It has action, comedy, suspense, drama, and the supernatural.
It is a powerful story. I reread it every 6 months as it recharges me and builds me up in my faith.
If you enjoy Christian fiction, you need to check this out. I love this book and I cannot stress it enough how much I do.
So some of you might recall my post last year on an author I enjoyed, Frank Peretti. He wrote Christian novels, ranging from suspense, to horror, to everyday fiction; but most have to do with angels battling demons.
This film is an adaption of one of his books, so yes it is a Christian film. I know not all of you might be interested in it, but let me say I have shown this film to Christian and non-Christian friends and both liked it. It’s pretty good.
I’ve read the book that the film is based on, and for me I like this film better than it’s source material.
I know it’s weird for me to write such a thing, but it’s the truth. To me the book is two stories, while the film is more focused on one. But that’s not my forte, if you want to read posts comparing the film to its original source material, check out my sister blog From Print to Screen.
Oh and by the way, I could not find like almost no photos of this film. So for the review I will be using whatever I have in my media collection. That’s the hard thing about reviewing lesser known films.
Anyways, let’s get on to the review.
So the film starts off a little different. As they show the credits they show other things that are important to the story. We see photos of a woman, Marian Jordan, and then her with the dog waving good-bye to her husband. Next thing, we see a newspaper clipping, woman missing.
Everyone searches for her, and they find her body. She was killed, but not just murdered.
It appears her death was a part of some kind of Satanic Cult ritual.
After the death of his wife, Pastor Travis Jordan is so grief-stricken, that he ends up quitting the ministry.
Now the actual film begins:
Three years later, and Travis is still grieving. He lives with just him and his dog, but now his dog is sick and has to be put down. After Travis does so, he takes the body home and buries him in the backyard.
So that night, Michael, a seventeen-year-old boy who just moved from San Francisco to Antioch; is driving the Pentecostal Church van with a keg in the back. His friends had dared him and as he is on the way with the keg for the party, three men appear in the road.
Michael moves quickly to not hit them, and ends up flipping over the van and crashing on the side of the road.
Think he survived?
He in this case
He survives it.
How did that happen?
So did these three men save him?
“Tall Man: Be not afraid. You are safe.
Michael: Am I dead?
Tall Man: You must go back.
Michael: Go where?
Tall Man: He is coming.
The man touches him, and Michael has this vision of a windmill, and some other things.
So let’s stop a moment and talk about the cinematography. It is actually beautiful. At times it is creepy,
and often in a voyeristic approach. Giving you the sense that someone is always watching.
So the authorities come, along with Michael’s mother Morgan, who is the vet. They fill out a report, and the newspaperwoman takes down the story.
Now at the Catholic church, the Arnold the janitor is cleaning and talking to God or to the stature of Jesus being crucified, I’m not sure. He has a problem with his hip and is asking for a miracle, to heal it completely. After all he has done so much for God.
Now here is where I think this guy is going wrong. You don’t do something nice or good in God’s name and expect a reward, then you aren’t truly giving as you expect payment of some sort. God wants a cheerful heart, something freely given. It makes me think of the part in Atlas Shrugged, when Hank’s family all expect this and that, and he tells them that it doesn’t work like that. You give and expect nothing in return, that is a real gift.
Anyways, sorry for the tangent. I’m back. So as Arnold notices that the crucifix is crying, as he reaches up and touches it he starts to have these visions and falls off his ladder.
When he gets up, he is completely healed. He starts telling everyone about the healing tears.
The “Tall Man” shows up again at this miracle as well. Alright, now we know they are more than ordunary men. But are they angels or demons?
They tell Arnold:
“Tall Man: He is coming.”
So that isn’t the only place seeing Jesus. In a hotel, the mildew makes Jesus on the wall. People see him in the clouds. It’s becoming a full-scale Jesus spotting epidemic.
Things are getting intense.
So Pastor Kyle Sherman, head of the Pentecostal church is unsure what these “sights” are. He and the other religious leaders decide to hold a board meeting, and Kyle wants some extra back up. He goes to get Travis, but Travis does not want to go to church, even if it is just for a meeting.
After Kyle leaves, Travis hears barking.
He goes out there and his dog Max is alive!!!!!
Travis is estatic, but he also notices that same three men that’s been appearing everywhere on his hill.
Who is that?
Kyle goes to see the vet, Morgan to talk about Michael. He wants to have Michael come to their meeting and share his experience. Morgan refuses as they “are not church people”. Kyle lets the comment go, but gives her the bible he brought as a “welcome to the community gift.” She’s not really into it, but rude to resist, she puts it to the side.
So that night the religious leaders are all discussing it. The Pentecostal preacher, Kyle, thinks it is demons and demonic possession. The Baptist minister, on the other hand, thinks it is just the usual religious crazies having fun.
So some of you might not know that Christianity has different splits. Most of them have to do with doctrine. Pentacostals believe in “speaking in tongues”, like the desciples did on the day of Pentecost. Presbeteryians don’t. There is more, but let’s move on back to the review.
So they all start fighting and arguing, until Travis comes in.
Travis back in Church? Crazy! Never thought it would happen.
So they ask Travis what he thinks, and he tells them that he thinks it is nothing, but people wanting things to happen. Before they can talk about it more, they are interupted by screams.
But it actually isn’t anything bad. In fact, one of the girls, Darlene (daughter of the sheriff) touched the crucifix’s tears and is healed of her scars.
Her mom starts yelling and telling people to pray.
She’s not the only one who has had an “experience”. Her father was driving to the church, stopped to pick up the Tall Man, and was talking to him in the car. Next thing he knows, guy disappeared!
The next day, Travis spots the Tall Man on the hill. He goes to get his camera, but has no film.
He goes to the store to buy some, when the owner, Matt Kiley a wheel-chaired veteran, gets touched by the “He” who is coming. He starts to have a shock and seizure. But after it passes, he can walk again!
Travis sees Matt’s transformation, and tries to chase after the person who did it. This leads him to the grocery store, where the lights are all flickering.
Never a good sign.
There he discovers that Darlene’s mother, Dee, was touched by “him” too and is now slain in the spirit.
The person who did this is long gone, and they ask Dee what he looked like. She tells them Jesus.
This is the only painting I have that shows his face clearly
For a moment they are all shocked and confused, until they are interrupted and told that it isn’t Jesus, but Brandon Nicholas, Mrs. Macon’s new farmhand.
Te sheriff decides to drive out there, only taking Travis (backup in the religious circle even though he is no longer a pastor) and Nancy, the newspaper reporter. But of course everyone wants to get a part of him, and they all follow them out there.
When they reach the farm, I guess you could say he looks like Jesus because of his long hair and a beard, but not really.
But wait…I have seen this man somewhere before? But where? Hmm…
HE WAS JOHN CONNER IN TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry, back to the review.
So Brandon has moved to the area and going to have a revival. He starts talking to them, and suddenly the mood alters. Brandon is no longer questioning, but has the upper hand. He knows about Nancy the newspaper writer’s search for love, and tells her that he can fill the hole in her heart, he search for love. He sticks his hand out, and when she takes it, it is like a jolt of electricity.
He then goes to Sheriff Brett and tells him he knows all about the tumor in his head, and his 50/50 chances. He tells Brett he can help, strechting out his hand. When Brett takes it he too is shocked and healed.
He asks Travis, but he doesn’t agree to get his help.
As they are all leaving, Travis sees that Tall Man again, and something clicks. He has seen him before, but where?
He heads back to the town and to the sheriff’s office to open up his wife’s case files.
While there, Travis finds a picture of the Tall Man by the ambulance when his wife was loaded in.
opy of the
Morgan comes in to get a copy of the accident report. While the deputy is distracted trying to get a date, Travis takes the photo and puts it in his pocket.
He heads to his car, but stops and asks Morgan if she has seen him too. Morgan disagrees, and I’ll be honest. This is the one scene I don’t really like as the only reason why they do it is so that Morgan joins him in the rest of the film. But it wasn’t that bad, so its nothing to hate the film on, just an annoying piece.
Anyways, the two end up heading up to the revival, as Travis wants answers about the Tall Man, and Morgan wants her son. Yes, Michael is very, very, very into everything going on. So much, that he ends up leaving his mom and joining the commune Brandon sets up.
There Brandon starts healing people. Norman Dillard has had to wear super thick glasses for 40 years, Brandon touches his hand:
He is healed.
Brandon starts touching people, healing, slaying in the spirit, etc. Dee wants to be choosen but he doesn’t pick her, she isn’t young enough.
But Dee predents to be moved by him.
As this is going on, Pastor Kyle comes up and calls out Brandon.
He knows Brandon is trying to insiinuate that he Jesus, and he won’t stand for that. He calls out that Jesus Christ died over 2000 years, nailed to a cross: where are your markings?
And then Brandon does something no one expected. He rolls up his sleeves and reveals that he has nail markings in his wrists.
Everyone goes crazy and starts praising him even more. All are captured by this and don’t stop to think that Jesus was not just wounded in his wrists, but in his side as well. Pastor Kyle tries to warn them about false prophets, but no one will listen
So as everyone is worshipping him, Travis spots the man from the photo, and begins trying to photograph him.
Travis gets kicked out by Brett, who is acting insane. Travis tries to tell him about the photo, but when they look at it again, the man is missing from the photograph!
Travis tries to get Morgan to vouch for him, but she is no help as she is preoccupied with everything that is happening with her son.
The next day Morgan comes over, as she is at a loss of what to do. She was able to fight her ex for custody, but how does she defest Brandon to win her son back?
While she is there, Max Travis’ dog is stolen by the Tall Man.
The two follow the truck which heads up to the farm, where Brandon is having another revival, one that is crowded with people. They look around and spot the car Max was taken in, snapping a shot of the license plate.
I have to wonder, why would they take his dog? Is it a ploy to bring Travis back to the farm as he was going to stay far away. Is something to do with bringing the dog back to life? Is his powers failing and he needed the dog back before it fell apart and died?
They head back to the Sheriff’s office and Morgan agrees to a date with the deputy in return for running the plate from the car they photographed. They discover that it was last registered to an Abe of Abe’s Salvage, about two hours away.
When they reach Abe’s Salvage they ask Abe about the car, showing him the photo, but he doesn’t know what happened to it. It was stolen a few years back, and he hasn’t seen it since. As Abe is giving the camera back to Morgan he accidentally hits the next button, and sees a picture of Brandon….except that’s not Brandon.
Yes, Abe reveals that Brandon is not Brandon, but Herb Johnson. Brandon Nicholas used to work for him, but disappeared one day. Herb came along not too long after, but he too just took off withour notice.
After they get that information, they score his home address and search out to see it.
When they head out to the home, they discover it was a horrible, decrepit, falling apart shack. When they go inside they find the walls coverd in all kind of demonic signs, a pentagram, and one wall coverd in the same news clipping, but painted over black so we can’t see it.
The only reason you would do that is if to severely hide something. What could the article cover?
They take one and head out.
They head back to Antioch and when they get there they hear police sirens. Travis knows that Brett has been hanging out at the commune, and has become a body guard for Brandon. He decides not to stop, but keep going heading up to the farm. When they stop, the Brett gets out and starts yelling and attacking Travis, fully pumped of adrenaline.
They calm him down, and he relays a message, Brandon wants you.
Everyone acts almost as if they are under a spell or something. Travis and Morgan follow him to the house in which they run into Nancy.
Where did Nancy go and who is this girl?
Yes, Nancy has gone through a LOT of changes since living on the commune. Not only has she been living there 24/7 but she no longer cares about reporting the news or any thing that used to be important. She wears a sexy dress, drinks nonstop, and only cares about pleasing herself and Brandon.
Travis and Macon both ask after Mrs. Macon, but no one has seen her for a while.
Okay, we don’t know this has happened to her, but that’s what I am thinking.
So Travis is taken to Brandon, while Morgan investigates the house looking for Michael.
So Travis confronts Brandon with his knowledge that he is Herb Johnson, and Brandon doesn’t care.
He tells Travis that Brandon is just a stage name. Brandon…Herb…Justin…the name doesn’t matter. He tries to get Travis to accept him, touch his hand, allow him to heal him; but Travis still says no. Brandon tries to assure him he isn’t evil, he wants to clean up the towm.
While that is going on, Morgan is searching for Michael and goes down a blinking lighted hallway:
Never a good sign.
There she runs into Max, the dog, is starts trying to attack her so she runs downstairs and back with Travis. They are heading out when something hits their car.
It turns out to be Darlene who has a huge cut across her forehead. They ask her what happens, and she tells them that Brandon wanted her to do things, things she’s not interested in doing. And when she said no, he hurt her.
They put her in the car and head to the hospital. While they are heading to the hospital she reveals that her scars she wa healed from, have come back. And hurt even more.
It looks like Brandon’s so called “healing powers” don’t last. Interesting, very interesting. And more proof that Brandon is not Jesus.
Back at the commune, Brandon has canceled the night’s services. Everyone is disappointed, but Tall Man goes and selects the pretty young girls for Brandon’s private sessions. Dee hopes to be choosen and recieve special attention, but they won’t take her because she is too old.
And all I can say, is hey you are married. You shouldn’t be trying to get with any man that is not your hudsband.
So back at the hospital, the Sheriff shows up yelling at them to leave his daughter alone. They tell him the story and he goes in with her. They talk to the doctor and Morgan sweet talks him into letting them use the cat scan to read the article. Sometimes being a girl is extremely awesome.
Back at the farm, Matt’s legs aren’t working right. He wants to see Brandon to fix it, nd Michael helps carry him to the house. He leaves Matt in the parlor and goes looking for him upstairs and finds something creepy.
Brandon tied to a barbed fence with a chisel and speaking in a strange language. It is a creepy scene.
Michael gets freaked out and runs out of there.
After the doctor bandages Darlene’s head, Brett takes her home. There they find Dee staring at herself in the mirror.
She’s crying about not be choosen and the voices she has in her head telling her thinks. They try to calm her down, but then Brett starts twesking out as well. He sees the Tall Man and is trying to shoot him, when in reality the only people there are his wife and daughter.
They run from him, as he chases them around shooting.
He finally calms down and heads out to the farm to give Brandon a piece of his mind.
Michael is running across the cornfield, trying to get as far away from the farm as possible.
When he stumbles upon two guys burying something.
Matt has crawled into Brandon’s room, where he is currentlu gettin a massage from Nancy. Brandon is angry and yelling at Matt for turning on him, of which Matt promises that he would never do such a thing. He will do whatever Brandon wants.
Brett storms in as well, angry and yelling at Brandon. He is about to stand up to him, when his tumor comes back. Brandon promises tp take away the pain, but only if Brett becomes his servant. Brett agrees.
I just think what a jerk. He would trade his own comfort fpr his daughter?
And this begs the question again, are Brandon’s “healings” really healing anyone? They seem to last only a short time, and then need to be administered again.
At the hospital, they find out what the article says. 15 years ago, Reverand Cantwell disappeared a fugitive from the law, with his son Justin. This all sarts to gel in his mind and brings something back to him.
He talks about looking into who owned that decreput house. Just as they are discussing how to do it, Pastor Kyle and Michael show up.
Michael was running and ran into Pastor Kyle. He was freaked out, so Pastor Kyle decided to take him to the hospital. As they are talking, Michael starts tewaking out all over the place. Turns out he is posessed. Pastor Kyle does what needs to be done:
After he has prayed the demons out of Kyle, doing it the way ones are actually done , through prayer, and not showy like in The Exorcist or Supernatural. Michael tells them about the body. The group ends up splitting up.
Travis and Pastor Kyle head out to see what was buried, while Morgan and Michael go home tp do reasearch.
Travis and Pastor Kyle dig up the whole and find two bodies. One in a jumpsuit with the name Brandon Nicholas, the other, Travis thinks is Reverand Cantwell. They figure out that ever three years someone has been killed; Reverand Cantwell 9 years ago, Brian Nicholas 6 years ago, and then Marian Jordan 3 years ago. Someone needs to die tonight, and they think it is Mrs. Macon.
While they are talking, Brett comes on the scene shooting like crzy and trying to kill them as he is under orders from Brandon. He too is posessed, and Pastor Kyle has to do an excorcism on him as well. But once it is done, they team up and head up to the farm.
There they have to watch out for Brandon’s other bodyguard, Matt, who have I mentioned used to be a sniper in the military. Brett manages to get into the house and finds Mrs. Macon, too bad she is possessed too.
They see no sign of Brandon, and Travis figures out that he went after Morgan instead. As he is leaving he spots his dad on the second floor balconey. He now has a choice: go after the last connection to his wife, or save his friend he cares about that might become more.
He chooses to go after Morgan; leaving his past behind, accepting his wife’s death, and opening his heart to others.
Morgan has found the documents online, and sees that the house was owned by Reverand Cantwell. Just as she has made this discovery, Brandon appears with his posse. And I’m sure you have realized those guys are demons.
Michel gets stuck to the wall spinning like a windmill
While Brandon attacks Morgan.
Travis has reached the house and discovers Morgan tied to the table with barbed wire, while Brandon is there with a chisel.
Travis announces that he has figured out who Brandon really is…Justin Cantwell. Justin’s father was a minister and a psycho. He was abusing wife and son, and Justin made a choice to go to Travis for help. Travis calls CPS, but they don’t help as Rev. Cantwell can be charming when he wants to be.
After that, the Reverand decided he needed to punish Justin for going to a rival church. He ties him up with barbed wire on the base of the windmill and crucifies him with a chisel.
He makes a covenant with the devil, he is saved, given a few powers, and can continue to live but has to shed blood every three years. He went after Marian because he wanted Travis to suffer as he blames him for not doing more. It’s the same reason why he made discoveing his identity so easy and why he chose Morgan.
Travis tres to overcome him, but can’t as Brandon/Justin’s demon friends knock him about. Justin starts dying, as he is nearing his time and hasn’t killed. Just as he is about to, he throws one final barb ay Tavis, asking him where’s his God now?
Travis maages to grab a bible and tosses it, saving Morgan and killing Justin, as he hasn’t killed anyone yet.
The next scene, they are having a funeral for Justin. Travis is now Pastor Travis, he and Morgan are at the start of something, and the town is mending back together.
I know some of you might not care for it, but I loved it. It has a few hokey moments, as all do, but overall a good and creepy film. Too bad they don’t have any video clips of it on youtube.
And sorry, but no facebook cover photo/poster, as I couldn’t find any pictures really online to work with.