August 7, 2018 The Song of Solomon (Movie Review)
Stephen Biro – writer, director, producer, as well as president and founder of the film’s production company Unearthed Films – made his name with the 2014 American Guinea Pig film subtitled Bouquet of Guts and Gore along with the 2015 sequel Bloodshock. The man behind these films and 2014’s Bubba the Redneck Werewolf will also be producing a Documentary on 2010’s infamous A Serbian Film. So, the religious-themed edition, entitled The Song of Solomon, is not likely to be full of warm feelings. Not unless it is from a dollop of blood anyway.
Initially shown at Spain’s Sitges Film Festival in October of 2017, The Song of Solomon will be getting an official release on Blu-ray, DVD, and other formats via Unearthed Films on Tuesday, August 14, 2018. It will have plenty of extras too, like two different commentary tracks, a range of video interviews, and a behind-the-scenes Documentary.
Granted, it is not exactly the Alien Anthology, but it shows Biro and Unearthed take some pride in this film. After all, it promises to use practical effects provided by Toetag and Oddtopsy – the indie Horror genres top two FX companies. No CG or other such trickery. Likewise, it says all the exorcism rituals come directly from the Vatican’s own official guide on the subject; Of Exorcisms and Certain Supplications.
Yes, The Song of Solomon is a film about exorcism. In this case, a young woman called Mary (Jessica Cameron: Camel Spiders 2011, Mania 2015) becomes possessed by demons after witnessing her father’s suicide. Doctors cannot help her, nor the world at large. It is up to Father Blake (Jim Van Bebber: The Manson Family 1997), Father Powell (David E.McMahon: Followers 2017) and other Catholic holy men to try and exorcise the evil spirits from her. Yet the Vatican may have an ulterior motive behind sending their charges out into the spiritual battlefield.
One could have guessed the film would have a religious theme from the title. But why The Song of Solomon in particular? In the context of the film, the IMDB synopsis says the actual song of Solomon will be sung to unleash an evil force that has existed since the very beginning of time. A quick Wikipedia search says it is about sexual love, and it has been interpreted as an allegory for God’s relationship with his followers. It does play into the film a touch more than just being an ominous-sounding title, but that is up for the more Abrahamic Horror enthusiasts to discuss.
The bottomline here is whether The Song of Solomon is worth some of the high praise it has received. Spencer Evatt of the House of Tortured Souls even said “it’s better than The Exorcist.” But does it reach that Promised Land? Or is it merely wandering the desert for its hour-and-a-half runtime?
It is unlikely to be an Exorcist beater though. The soundtrack is not bad though. It will not raise goosebumps like “Tubular Bells” does, but it fits the bill with its moody tunes and chants. The acting is another story though. Cameron does alright as the possessed Mary – creepy speeches, creepy movements, menacing looks etc. But many of the priests come off as wooden. Sure, they can recite scripture and wail in fright, but delivering convincing dialogue is another matter. There is not much to the script either, as it gets all too familiar. The introductions for each priest rarely differ from each other either. High Priest goes up to a priest, tells him to exorcise Mary, priest says he is “out of the game,” High Priest convinces him otherwise, and the priest enters the Holy Meatgrinder.
The camerawork has its odd moments too. Usually it is fine, especially when showcasing the film’s stunts. But there are a few scenes where it falters. For example, the introduction of one priest (Gene Palubicki: American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock 2015) makes it look like the High Priest is hopping from one side of him to the other between takes. The implication is that one shot is a reflection in a bar mirror, but it comes off as breaking the 180° rule, and making the scene a little confusing.
So, if the acting is duff, the camerawork shaky, and the soundtrack fair but unremarkable, is there something in this film’s favor? That is where Toetag and Oddtopsy’s effects come in. Blood flows by the bucketful through wide-open wounds. Eyeballs are torn out from the sockets. Then a fascinatingly gross makeup job makes one man’s face swell up in agonizing-looking, oozing sores. That is just the tip of the iceberg too. It makes for an impressive showcase and should impress anyone looking for something suitably horrific.
Which just about sums The Song of Solomon up really. There is not much to go on if one is looking for fine acting, story, or direction. Although, it is a visual powerhouse fueled by guts and gore that should fit in fine with fans of the Guinea Pig films. As such, it is not a film for the squeamish. All that in mind, anyone on the fence should probably catch it on VOD first before considering buying a DVD. Gorehounds could add an extra half or even a full star or so on top of the final rating. That is why CrypticRock gives The Song of Solomon 2.5 out of 5 stars.