Desecrated (2015)

Desecrated opened with the sort of black humor that people will either see as hilarious, or crossing about ten lines in two sentences. Humor and horror have always been tricky to combine – after all, there is a small difference between making a joke and making light of something horrible. Still, I enjoyed the first part of Desecrated. It’s a low budget B-film and the film quality isn’t the best, but the actors are clearly having a blast with their roles. The dialog is smart and funny, and the film appears to be aware of its own ridiculousness enough to play around with it. Desecrated is a smart little horror film with a nasty sense of humor. It flows well, it’s genuinely funny, and isn’t afraid to get mean. All qualities that make up the best sort of B-films.

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At least, for the first half.

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Then Desecrated takes an unfortunate turn for the melodramatic, and tries hard to play everything straight. Sadly, the film just hasn’t set up a world that can be taken seriously in that way. The villain ends up feeling more comical than tragic, the humor becomes entirely unintentional, and the dialog I previously praised becomes flat and boring. It honestly feels like the film switched directors halfway through, and that they had very different ideas about how the story should be told. The end result is a confusing disappointment. The first half of the film had a mean sense of humor that could have carried it through the mediocre scenery and special effects if the director had taken it to the logical extreme.

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For a film that supposedly wants the villain to be motivated by PTSD and what seems to be a psychotic break from reality, Desecrated doesn’t appear to understand how either actually work, or how to portray them effectively on screen. Desecrated had some interesting ideas about debt, graves, and the complicated nature of trespassing, but doesn’t come to any conclusions about them. I’d say the first thirty minutes are the best, but the rest of it can be skipped.

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This could have been a good film. It didn’t quite get that far.

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