DARK ANGEL: THE ASCENT

PrintE-mail Written by James Evans

From Charles Band’s Full Moon production company, 1994’s Dark Angel: The Ascent opens with a literal descent into hell. There we meet Veronica, a young demon who is just not down with the whipping and screaming, the torturing and punishing of the dammed, and wants to instead visit the world of humans above. Veronica finds a secret route to the surface and, taking her lovable pooch Hellraiser with her, heads upwards.

Once there, Veronica disguises herself as a normal human. Veronica also soon decides after having experienced our corrupt and sinful world that it’s not fair for bad people to have to die before they can be punished and so she starts hunting them down and giving them what for, which includes feeding people parts to her dog. Veronica meets a young doctor called Max and begins a relationship. When Veronica decides to tell him the truth about who she really is, he must decide whether his lady being the actual spawn of hell is going to put him off.

Dark Angel: The Descent seems like a truly forgotten film - it doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page, as sure a sign of cultural dismissal in these times as anything. You might suspect it’s with good reason that this is one of the extremely prolific Band’s lesser known works.  Full Moon has been putting out re-releases of catalogue titles from Band’s various companies and after viewing, it’s easy to understand why they chose this film. The strange Veronica is played with memorable charm and humour by Angela Featherstone. The story is treated with a fair amount of seriousness and although there are the requisite broad performances by the supporting cast, and frequent intentional flashes of humour, it’s done with an admirable straight face.

It’s a weird mix of horror, romance, and genuine oddity. Whether this is something you’ll enjoy depends. By far Band's productions can be hit and miss. But if you’re a fan of Band’s better known and better-made productions like Trancers or Subspecies then you’ll know what to expect when they got it right: good concepts, done with commitment and style on low budgets. Dark Angel: The Ascent fits very much into this - it’s cheesy good fun, with gore, nudity, fun ideas and all wrapped up in a little over an hour and a quarter.

If you already like the Band-style this is certainly one of the decent ones and deserving of a second life. For those unfamiliar with that house style it might seem too silly or cheap, but, whilst certainly niche entertainment, take it in the movie-huckster spirit it was made in and you’ll most likely have a fun time.

DARK ANGEL: THE ASCENT / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: LINDA HASSANI / SCREENPLAY: MATTHEW BRIGHT / STARRING: CONSTANTIN DRAGANESCU, ANGELA FEATHERSTONE, CRISTINA STOICA, VALENTIN TEODESIU / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (US), TBC (UK)


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