A film about the final conflict and ongoing battle between the forces of ultimate good and evil? It has worked before, in “Frailty”, “The Exorcist”, “The Omen”…but then again, it has failed miserably as in “Dogma”, “Stigmata”, and any and all of “The Exorcist” sequels. There is something decidedly not-scary about Christian themed horror…Well, maybe when the devil is a prominent figure and he has some great ways of killing the innocent, but other than that, religion is the least-scary type of horror (for us heathen unbelievers, anyway. That means most film geeks) and the most difficult to pull-off. It reminds me of the times I went to Christian youth meetings, and at Halloween they’d have a haunted house filled with wholesome scares like the Snake offering up an apple, evil Romans ready to behead the followers of Christ, and all sorts of other temptations. Not scary.
Also not scary, interesting, thought-provoking, or even tolerable is the film “Transit Angel”, about a final showdown between the angel Faith and the demon Destamon on the ancient battlefield in Purgatory that involves sword fighting, kung-fu, and intense special effects. Sound ambitious for an indie short on a very low budget? That’s because it is. The filmmaker, John Christian (ironically enough, that is his last name) was in no way prepared to film such grand scenes that ordinarily would take thousands of dollars in special effects and original art to come close to entertaining, let alone believable. Not to knock low-budgeted film, but a low budget is not an excuse for making a terrible movie. If the effects aren’t in the budget, then perhaps making a film like “Transit Angel” is not a wise filmmaking assessment.
Also devastating to the total picture are the trite dialogue, bad acting, amateurish montages of city life, “Bewitched”-style appearing/disappearing on the parts of the angels, cheesy Halloween costumes, and nearly incomplete sound editing that plague the viewer throughout the entire story.
“Transit Angel” has no real direction. There is no clear reason for any of the events in the film. When Destamon and Faith end up facing off, it is because they are decisive enemies on opposing sides of good and evil. The storylines, other characters, and confusing sequences add nothing to the plot and in fact, completely demean the definitive point of the story; Good Vs. Evil. By using pedestrian and hackneyed characters to construct a film badly shot and badly edited (as well as cliché and unmoving) John Christian has missed the mark very badly.
Transit Angel is like a bad high school play. If you’ve got a relative in it, I’m sure you’ll find something to like, but hoping that a Broadway producer is going to show up at the opening night is a bit unrealistic, not to mention it would be a complete waste of their time…