WRITTEN REVIEW: The Keep

By JUSTIN POLIZZI

“THEY WERE ALL DRAWN TO THE KEEP. The soldiers who brought death. The father and daughter fighting for life. The people who have always feared it. And the one man who knows its secret.”

New Year’s Evil was funny, may not be a great film but it was fun to watch. The Keep is a bit different. Coming out just 3 years after New Year’s Evil, The Keep looks years apart. The Keeps director of photography and score is the only good thing about this film, but more on that later.

The Keep is about a mysterious Romania citadel which the Nazis adopt as a base sometime in 1942. By steeling the citadels ornamental silver, a Demon awakes and exacts it's revenge on the nazi soldiers who stole it There death soon creates a panic. During this time a stranger senses this and travels to stop the escaped demon. The SS arrive and brings an old Jewish man and his daughter, who apparently knows everything there is to know about The Keep. The old man is played fantastically by Ian McKellen.

Since we are talking actors, Gabriel Byrne, Scott Glenn, William Morgan Sheppard, Robert Prosky and J├╝rgen Prochnow round off an impressive cast that does shine. Michael Mann directs and Tangerine Dream puts together one beautiful score. Michael Mann also wrote the screenplay, which is where this film falls flat. It’s very lackluster and I got bored fast. It’s just not a good film, and unlike New Year’s Evil it’s not even funny.



This is a film to see on Netflix not because it's good, but because it has never been released on DVD and might not for a longtime. Two reasons stop the DVD from being released, Score rights and Mann who disowned the movie. The Tangerine Dream soundtrack is beautiful by itself. The effects are fantastic, especially the look of the demon. The Demon quickly became a highlight for me. All in all, the look achieved by the DP, Alex Thomson (Labyrinth, Alien 3) is far superior to the bad script. Thomson's lighting is spot on and the smoke in this movie is a character of its own.

The movie is based on a novel of the same name by F. Paul Wilson. He has publicly expressed distaste with this film and deemed it “visually intriguing but otherwise utterly incomprehensible”. That makes sense after seeing a gorgeous film with a lackluster script. I hear the original cut is three and a half hours long, which explains a lot. Mann wrote a script that shouldn’t have been so long. Without being responsible Mann made a film no one wants to watch. If he only took the time to cut the script down to a two-hour film, we would have had a fantastic piece of celluloid.



The film feels messy. It's all over the place and never picks up a nice flow for the audience to enjoy. This is a perfect example of having all the pieces of a great film, but forgetting it all starts with the script.

So is it bad film? Yep. It’s not funny nor even a film that’s put together correctly.


Netflix Queue? The only reason I see to add it to the your queue is because it's a film that has a great score, fantastic look, actors that pull off their parts good and a it's a film you might never get to see again do to copyright issues.

So there you have it. Do you think The Keep is a Keeper?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes a motion picture is only worth one. Simplistic Reviews gives you a minimum one word review from avid film buffs Justin Polizzi, Matthew Stewart and DJ Valentine. If one isn't enough, you can read on and enjoy their further analysis of the film or television show. Simplistic Reviews is, for lack of a better word, GOOD.

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2 comments:

Gex said...

I wanted to like this film a lot more than I did. The atmosphere is nice, the demon is freakin awesome, like Nemesis from Resident Evil (the game, not the fucking movie), and the score is enchanting. It had potential, but it needed to be in better hands. A remake would actually be nice for this one, it deserves it.

That said, it's worth noting that the ending was meant to be more climactic, with an actual battle between Scott Glenn and the demon at the top of the Keep. But the special effects guy who worked on the movie ending died before he could finish doing the effects for the scene. So they eventually scrapped it and we got a simpler climax.

Aside from that, there is an extended ending available that adds an extra 4 minutes or so from the the American cut leaves off.

It may not be a great movie, but it is a cult classic. I give it props for the potential it had, but that's all.

Gex said...

Wally Veevers was the name of the special effects guy. Apparently there were 3 scenes he still needed to work on before he sadly passed away.