The Song of Solomon (2017)
Written and Directed by Stephen Biro
Admittedly this movie was one of the main reasons I dragged my family hundreds of miles across country to a Horror convention. Sure, I could have waited for it to be unleashed on DVD (Biro’s American Guinea Pig Bouquet of…entry didn’t do much for me but I was still left intrigued as to where his future endeavours of the extreme variety might turn) however I’m impatient and a salivating rabid fanboy at the best of times.
Without further ado, let’s delve into my rambling train of though and get the show on the road…
The Song of Solomon
The news that I’m not a huge fan of either religion or the bible should come as no great shocker to anyone familiar with my scribbles. I’ll not jump into my reasonings and choice of belief system (or lack thereof) in (any) depth here but let’s just say I have more faith in Santa visiting me in July with a huge sack of packages dressed in a French maids outfit than to any subscribed offering of doctrine currently on display. Enuf said. With that in mind I have no clue whatsoever as to whom or what the ‘Song of Solomon’ refers. With my ignorance out of the way what say we plow onwards with my nonsensical narrative.
Naturally I’m aware of the genre and allure of “possession” movies (and even have experience with an entity close to one demonstrating demonic powers I live with a twenty month old intent on getting what she wants without regard for others or her own safety) chief among them The Exorcist (and it’s many infamous one-liners. “Your mother sucks cocks in Hell” being my hands down fave). And to what they refer – obviously the age old battle of light versus darkness, good versus evil, ketchup versus ranch, blah, blah, blah.
So then, you might say I had somewhat of an idea of what I was about to experience when placing myself in front of a festival/convention screening of the above named feature. Correct. Biro however, tackles the genre a little differently than others before him. Somehow he has managed to stray from lurid sexual contexts and content (insert scenes incorporating crucifix orifice insertion here) and instead concentrate on the physical aspect of things.
Scream queen Jessica Cameron is utilized brilliantly in a role many auditioned for but failed to meet the demands of (words paraphrased from the mouth of the director himself) and captures the essence of exhibiting a “split personality” (seems like a good way to look at it I suppose) beautifully displaying both country girl innocence and aeons of diabolical wisdom. Honestly, going into it, I thought, scratch that hoped, I’d see Jessica naked, spread eagle tastefully (huh-?) contorting all her ample assets to lure a plethora of innocence into the dark chasm of sin. This didn’t happen (spoiler alert!) However I did get to see more of her than I could have ever hoped for, and then some, and all in one amazing scene, which isn’t brief in the slightest, that’s guaranteed to linger in the cortex for quite some time after an initial viewing. The term epuld you like fries with that came toind during the svreening experience, itll all make sense as the film plays out you have my word! This same scene also pulled me back to a plethora of memories where I acted like a gent, if holding a ladies hair back while she vomits none-so-subtlety makes one a “gent” (I believe the jury is out in regards to that one!).
Jim VanBebber (Deadbeat at Dawn) stars as only one of an unsuspecting slew of priests pulled in out of retirement (in some cases) to help Mary (Jessica Cameron) with her ailment. Bible verses are spouted and rosary beads manhandled more vigorously than the swollen flesh of an excitable thirteen year old but all to no or very little avail. Making one ponder is there perhaps something else going on? The head honcho certainly knows a few things everyone else isn’t privy too. Perhaps that’s just the way it is, the Vatican continues to be a mysterious institution as it has remained for centuries, and he certainly carries weight and an undeniable power of persuation to make those of the cloth do his bidding.
Im still unsure as to whether dark humor finds its way into the film or not based on my screening surroundings. In certain instances, most notably in scenes including Mary’s parent(s), their inability to be able to do anything about her situation and the exchange of dialogue within the house following an(other) ‘incident’ and holy man visitation a certain levity was to be found. Although, one must ponder whether on the role of gallows humor and why it’s so rampant in similar situations perhaps in order that the participants keep their (rapidly fleeing) sanity.
The film, although a little ‘rough around the edges’ at times, works excellently on a number of different levels. The opening scene serves remarkably well to drag the viewer in with its wickedness. At first what seems like a depressing mid-life crisis monologue transpires into a fantastic introduction to the matter at hand. The soundtrack/score is pulse pounding, suffocating and highly effective working exceedingly well adding suspense and palpable tension in sequences that demand such and are only more remarkable because of its addition.
Jessicas performance is top notch, appreciatively unpredictable and not so outlandish as to be utterly beyond belief, in this context (after all how often is it you hear of a Demonic possession in your hood?). It should come as no shocker that the practical effects are what steal the show. Courtesy of Martin Koch (famed for his direction of the carnage clown classic 100 Tears) and crew they are brutal, blunt, uncomprimising, excellently executed and come complete with sound effects as if the unflinching visual wasn’t merely enough to suffice. The calibre of the effects (all practical) are exactly what one would imagine coming from the creative team responsible for Bloodshock (another I need to visually consume ASAP) and American Guinea Pig Bouquet. This isn’t Syfy or Hallmark channel material folks, these guys do not fuck around in the slightest.
Leaving the screening I was happily sated. The Song of Solomon was pleasingly different than others I’ve witnessed in the same genre and showed creative maturity in utilizing, in part, a storyline that’s been covered before but with the addition of an added climactic twist. An ending (I won’t spoil) that’ll make the jaw drop, will sate those with a gore quotient to fill, in a feature that’s overflowing with such, make some wonder what the hell it was that they’d just witnessed and others left eagerly awaiting another entry in the American Guinea Pig series.
Whatever your thoughts on the film, I liked it so much I splurged for a shirt, it will leave an impression, making for interesting future discussion and likely voracious disagreements on the literal translation of certain ‘works’. But after all is said and done isn’t that what cinema is supposed to achieve…the sparking of intellect and discussion. Feel free to tell me what you think. Rather than standing as merely a splatter feature I believe The Song of Solomon has succeeded in other arenas other than what many who’ve viewed it may advertise it. I’m only left wondering where the creative team will go from here, color me intrigued.
Your slave to cinema draped in grue, crimson and offal though blanketed in ancient theme that remains mysterious and throughly enigmatic.
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