The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 6.14.10: Issue #110 – The Devil’s Tomb
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #110: “The Devil’s Tomb” (2009)
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never been attacked by a giant mutant banana, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number one hundred and ten, I take a look at the 2009 low budget action horror flick “The Devil’s Tomb,” starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., Ron Perlman, Ray Winstone, and B-movie horror legend Bill Moseley and directed by Jason Connery.
The Devil’s Tomb (2009)
“The Devil’s Tomb” stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Mack, the leader of an elite American Special Forces team sent to a classified Middle Eastern archaeological dig site to rescue a renowned scientist (Wesley, as played by the great Ron Perlman). The what and why of the mission aren’t all that important, at least initially, to Mack and his team. All they’re interested in is completing the mission (although most of them, like Zack Ward’s Nickels, wonder why they were sent on this particular mission since they’re not a rescue team). If only they pressed their CIA handler Dr. Elissa Cardell (Valerie Cruz) more before descending into the dig site’s gigantic underground bunker as maybe then Mack wouldn’t have accepted the mission.
When Mack and his team arrive in the bunker they find the place deserted. There’s blood on the walls, there’s no power, and there’s no one there. No Wesley, no fellow scientists, no one. They search the area carefully, making sure that they have an escape route out just in case something bad happens (Mack leaves Nickels in the site’s command center to work the radio and fix the power). They are under orders not to take anything from the site besides Wesley. Everything else must stay.
Strange stuff starts to happen. Mack has several weird flashbacks to a bad day in his past involving his best friend Blakeley (Ray Winstone). Other team members hear voices and weird sounds, have terrible hallucinations. There’s an injured priest on the floor (Father Jacoby, as played by Weston Blakesley). The priest is covered in what appear to be radiation burns. And a Bible quoting weirdo identified as one of the site’s scientists (Professor Duncan, as played by Bill Moseley in heavy makeup) shows up and starts, well, quoting the Bible. He also knows things about the team that he shouldn’t, personal things.
Just what the heck is going on here? As soon as Mack decides that he’s had enough and wants to know what Dr. Cardell knows (because she knows more than she’s letting on. She is Wesley’s daughter, so she knows exactly what’s going on), members of his team start disappearing. Soon, the bunker, both the command center and the underground part, are in chaos.
“The Devil’s Tomb” is one of the better low budget action horror movies in recent memory. It has a better than average cast, some suspenseful parts that provide a good jolt, and some decent gore. It’s a little slow at times (does Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character really need to have all of those freaking flashbacks?). The script, credited to Keith Kjornes, could have used more work (for instance, Mack identifies himself as a “soldier of fortune,” which usually means “mercenary” in the movies, but it appears that he’s really an American Special Forces operator. Well, which is it? I really can’t say for sure right now). But what the movie lacks in story sense it makes up for in creepiness and general nastiness.
Now, what the heck turns people into “demons” in this movie? Is it just being there in the bunker or is it that they get infected via that black goo stuff that demon zombies keep barfing up? Is it transferred by blood (that’s the other thing that gets barfed up on people). I do want to commend the special make up effects people for the exposed spinal column sequence. If Fangoria magazine still did that “Scream Greats” poster thing this movie’s exposed spinal column would be a classic.
The cast for this flick is amazing. Gooding, Jr. does a pretty decent job as Mack. Gooding, Jr, is a little hard to believe as a bad ass Special Forces guy at the beginning (he doesn’t handle tough guy dialogue well). When he gets into the bunker, though, he’s more believable. Valerie Cruz is exceptional as Dr. Elissa Cardell. She’s freaking annoying as hell as she tries to keep what she knows about the bunker and her father’s work to herself, even in the face of the strange hooey going on. You can’t wait to see her go down (you could say that she’s the movie’s real villain). The immortal Franky G is great as Hammer, the team’s weapons specialist. Stephanie Jacobsen deserves some kind of award for her performance as Yoshi. What she has to do with Taryn Manning’s Doc is some of the nastiest, foulest stuff I think I’ve ever seen (let me put it to you like this, you’re probably not going to want to eat greasy pizza after what they do).
Zack Ward is funny as Nickels, the team’s wise cracking engineer (I don’t know what else to call him). It’s the role he was born to play (he’s such a natural wise ass). Brandon Fobbs is hilarious as Click, the team’s hacker. He starts to lose his cool when the really bad stuff starts to happen (why the heck is he the only one covered in blood and goo?). And Weston Blakesley puts in the greatest potentially dead priest covered in nasty sores of all time.
Ron Perlman does a great job as Wesley. He doesn’t really show up until the end of the movie, but when he does it’s electric. Ray Winstone, who you’d think would be above acting in this kind of movie (he’s Ray fucking Winstone for God’s sake), does a great job as Blakeley. He, too, doesn’t really show up until the end, but, like Perlman, once he does show up he’s awesome. Henry Rollins shows up as a freaked out priest named Fulton. And Bill Moseley does his usual great job while covered in heavy make up. His Professor Duncan, much like his immortal Chop-Top, will give you nightmares. He’s that damn creepy (what the hell is the deal with that voice?).
“The Devil’s Tomb” is worth checking out. It’s not the greatest movie ever made, sure, but it’s got quite a bit going for it. I don’t know if I’d want to see a sequel (the movie sort of lets on that there could be a sequel, but what the hell would a sequel be about?) but I wouldn’t mind seeing Gooding, Jr. appear in this kind of movie again. If he’s going to make a career out of appearing in B-movies, do all of them.
So go ahead and seek out “The Devil’s Tomb.” You could do a lot worse.
So what do we have here? Gratuitous guy typing something on a computer, gratuitous Ron Perlman, gratuitous Ron Perlman talking into the camera, lots of scary video footage of something happening, gratuitous Cuba Gooding, Jr., gratuitous Cuba Gooding, Jr. stroking a gun for some reason, red dot hooey, gratuitous Zack Ward, gratuitous multiple flashbacks featuring Ray Winstone, a major dust storm, gratuitous Franky G, computer hackery, a malfunctioning elevator, bloody handprints, gratuitous Bill Moseley, multiple goo spittings, a dead body with the back of its head blown out, a nasty electrocution, hanging dead bodies, a cross wound, exploding head, gratuitous Henry Rollins, zombie demons, gratuitous naked chick, tape bondage, serious arm breaking, fat guy attack, C-4 hooey, a bunch of old religious documents, bodies floating in some kind of yellow liquid, a bunch of hooey about demons and hell, some of the nastiest lesbian sex you’re ever going to see (and I don’t mean nasty in the sense that it’s hot and nasty. It’s actually pretty gross), spine stabbing, another exploding head, ice lab hooey, suicide, more spine stabbing, and an unsatisfactory ending that seems to suggest a sequel is possible.
Best lines: “All my life I’ve been a soldier of fortune,” “It turns out some things can’t be killed with a bullet,” “You can call me Nickels,” “Damn, it’s hot in here!,” “My doctorate is in anthropology,” “What the hell are you doing?,” “Would you shut the fuck up?,” “Gear up, Hicks,” “Welcome to hell,” “You’re not here for your opinions. Open it,” “Have you seen what 200 volts does to your complexion?,” “What is this bullshit?,” “How the hell is this bitch still wiggling?,” “What the fuck do you know about my job? My job is to get my team out alive. And when people I shoot don’t die I have a hard time doing my fucking job!,” “Look what I found! Your bear!,” “What the hell are we shooting at?,” “What about Wesley? Fuck Wesley!,” “You can read Latin but you can’t read Spanish?,” “What the fuck is that thing?,” “Quit acting like a little bitch!,” “Sometimes our faith changes who we are. Sometimes who we are changes faith,” “What am I looking at? The wrath of God!,” “Take a seat, soldier,” “I did what I had to do,” “You look like shit,” “Oh, Jesus. Stop name dropping, Mack,” “Mack, do you know the seven deadly sins?,” and “Thank God for free will.”
And now, the weekly Fearnet update
Do you have Fearnet on your cable/satellite system? If you do, you’re lucky because it’s the only free all horror/thriller on Demand station going (it’s also one of the few places that is proud of B-movies). If you’re a Time Warner cable subscriber, you don’t have it. You probably used to have it, but it was snatched away from you last year. But there is a way to see what Fearnet has to offer. Just go here.
Yes, that’s the Fearnet website, where you can check out the free movies Fearnet has to offer (the site gets new ones every Wednesday), horror news, and more. Something called “The Thaw” was on there last week. Is it still there?Check and see. The site also has a pretty nifty web series featuring Freddy Krueger hisself, Robert Englund, and Kane “Jason Voorhees” Hodder, “Fear Clinic” that’s definitely worth a look.
If you’re a Facebook nerd you can check out the Fearnet fans Facebook page, which can be seen here. There are plenty of people out there interested in Fearnet. Come join them.
(As always, thanks to both Mark Lindsey and Mathew Hirsch for info regarding the Fearnet fan movement).
And now, a little bit about “Live Evil”
“Live Evil,” the great new Tim Thomerson vampire flick (also featuring an appearance by horror legend Ken Foree) is currently on Video on Demand. Check out my review for the flick here, and then, if it’s on your cable system, order it. It’s a great flick that’s well worth the price.
If you’re a reader from Germany, though, you can go to the amazon German site and order the flick right now. Lucky bastards.
“Live Evil” will be here soon for everyone to enjoy. I, for one, can’t wait for that moment.
Well, I think that’ll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that. And if there’s anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
And don’t forget to bookmark 411 via the little line below. You’ll be glad you did.
“The Devil’s Tomb”
Cuba Gooding, Jr.- Mack
Valerie Cruz- Dr. Elissa Cardell
Taryn Manning- Doc
Zack Ward- Nickels
Franky G- Hammer
Jason London- Hicks
Stephanie Jacobsen- Yoshi
Brandon Fobbs- Click
Henry Rollins- Fulton
Ron Perlman- Wesley
Ray Winstone- Blakeley
Bill Moseley- Professor Duncan
Weston Blakesley- Father Jacoby
Directed by Jason Connery
Screenplay by Keith Kjornes
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated R for strong violence/gore, language and brief nudity
Runtime- 90 minutes
Buy it here