Interesting fact…The Church was supposed to be the third movie in the Demons franchise but no actual links exist within the movie. The films couldn’t be more different…
The movie opens showing a group of Teutonic Knights murdering & destroying a village of ‘supposed’ witches. It’s a brutal opening & one which leaves many a question while also showing religious ignorance at its best. After throwing the bodies into a mass grave a church is built over the spot.
Present day…the church is a piece of architectural wonder showing its age proudly. The Church is run by the old-school Bishop, a cantankerous old man with many a secret. He is helped by Father Gus, a young black priest who is questioned regularly by the older Reverend, as well as the Sacristan who lives within the Church boundaries with his wife & teenage daughter, Lotte. Lotte is constantly sneaking out to go to clubs which enrages her father to no end especially as he doesn’t know how she keeps getting out as the Church is locked up at night.
Evan is the new librarian & he hits it off with Lisa, who is restoring some of the Churches art. After an incident involving drilling in the crypt, Lisa discovers a parchment that she shows to Evan. It appears to suggest there is something hidden under the crypt & Evan is excited to find out.
He breaks the seal & releases the demonic spirits that are hidden below. He has incredible visions & later that night Lisa is tormented at her house by some sort of huge waking goat-thing.
The next day she finds Evan at the Church but he behaves irrationally towards her which scares her. He attempts to force himself on her but he escapes so he turns his attention to Lotte who runs out of the Church.
Meanwhile the Sacristan has been inhabited by a demon & commits suicide in the crypt with a large drill. The drill smashes through the seal which makes the Church go into lockdown, an automated system put in place by the architect of the Church should the seal ever be broken.
The Church, a popular tourist site has many visitors including a group of kids, a wedding photo shoot & more trapped inside with the evil spirits.
It’s not long before the demons start inhabiting others & attempting to kill everyone else. The film from this point is a visual treat with some unique looking moments designed to confuse the survivors & lead them to their doom. The only one not affected is a returning Lotte (worried for her parents) & Father Gus who sets about trying to stop the evil from escaping.
The film is a slow–burner with the first 40+ minutes setting up the breaking of the seal in the church crypts. It’s well done & anticipation is high for what will occur once the demons are released. Even then its’ not a gory & bloody attempt by the demons to cut their way through the group of survivors. Instead it’s a mix of violent attacks (sharp fence through the throat) mixed with subtle attempts of luring those to their doom (the biker sees his girlfriend naked & wrapped arm in arm with a winged angel-like demon).
These moments are by far the best using great visuals effects while remaining effective & very convincing. One such moment sees an elderly couple heading up to the bell tower. They want to ring the bell to get people’s attention to their plight. Upon arrival they discover there is nothing to ring the bell with. Later we hear the bell being rung & get a telling shot of a grinning elderly lady slamming her husbands decapitated dead against the bell. It’s pretty awesome…
The film is not scared to kill & maim those that you would expect to survive…there are a couple of surprise moments & the film is confident in showing Satanism in all its glory.
The film ends spectacularly with a disturbing scene involving a mound of human bodies that erupts from the ground. It probably could have done without the sequel bait ending but it’s a breathless journey & one that is very satisfying.
Some questionable dubbing will raise a smile but with a fantastic soundtrack you won’t care much about that.