Ahh horror movies, the genre of choice for new, penniless directors making a name for themselves and a guaranteed bit of revenue for the studios that make them. They cost naff all and the audience don’t expect much other than a bit of dodgy acting some, even dodgier special effects and if we’re lucky a few shocks and jumps.
Apart from one or two examples such as ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ or ‘Don’t Look Now’, very rarely are they actually frightening (and yes that includes ‘The Exorcist’ Mr Kermode) , which is I suspect, a very tricky thing to pull off, indeed the only film director who has ever consistently scared me is David Lynch, who is not even a horror film maker.
So, over the last decade or we have experienced the rise in torture porn films like the ‘SAW’ series, which exchange true shocks and chills for visceral, detailed and extremely bloody violence. SAW itself is actually a very well made movie but it just makes me feel very uncomfortable rather than actually scared.
With the release of Paranormal Activity in 2009, there was a genuine attempt to revert old school fear making movies and I must admit it did make me jump four times when I saw it in the cinema. ‘Paranormal Activity’, worked on the found footage conceit that had sort of worked in the ‘Blair Witch Project’ back in the Glorious Nineties. ‘Paranormal Activity’ made (and continues to make) a massive bunch of cash and as per the Hollywood rule of “follow the money” we are now inundated with found footage horror.
And this is where ‘The Sigil’ makes an entrance.
I won’t mince words here, The Sigil written, directed and starring Brandon Cano-Errecart is a bad film. Truly, truly dreadful from beginning to end.
It’s a basically a haunted house story, where Devan an idiot girl and her small gang of idiot mates go and stay in the building where her brother (presumably also an idiot) and the cult he belonged to (yup definite idiot) died of some sort of mysterious radiation. The idiots don’t buy the official story and idiotically think kipping over will reveal what truly happened but not in any way cause them any trouble.
Though this is bizarre reasoning, it is very much par for the course in a horror movies, as is the extremely dodgy dialogue. For the writers sake I hope it was improvised but for the actors I really hope it was written as it adds nothing to the film other than kill time and embarrass everyone. The idiots chat a bit for exposition purposes and then they might suddenly break out into a row for no discernible reason, before a plot point needs covering and then it’s time for more screaming and shouting before deciding to do something idiotic.
But, even this level of writing/acting is expected in horror, bad thesbionics can lift a film into camp comedy classic territory but not in ‘The Sigil’, here bad is just bad.
Special effects are often the best part of bad horror movies and truly worthy of remark when everything else around them is just utter balls. ‘The Sigil’ doesn’t have any. Not even a hint of anything special, there is some groovy editing but nothing to provide that necessary “Ooh”, “Ahh” or “Yuk”, nothing to be scared or repulsed by and certainly nothing to laugh at. The denouement is the pinnacle of this lack of achievement, where the idiots run around a lot screaming (natch) then one of them is possessed by a gravelly voice and tries to inflict gruesome bloody death (though he doesn’t) via a snooker cue, then I think the building falls down. The End.
To show I am not being totally unfair I would like to point out two positive aspects, some of the non found-footage stuff is nicely shot and best of all…it’s only 72minutes long!
The Sigil’ a horror movie so bad that it can’t even raise a smile, let alone the hairs on the back of your neck.