Review: The Cloth / Cert: 15 / Director: Justin Price / Screenplay: Justin Price / Starring: Danny Trejo, Eric Roberts, Kyler Willett / Release Date : October 21st
“Someone slap me in the face with the Devil’s nutsack!” If you thought it was impossible for exorcism movies to get any worse than The Devil Inside, then ye have little faith. The Cloth is rapidly shaping up in terms of public opinion (check the movie forums) as not just the worst exorcism movie ever made, but perhaps the worst film ever made per se. Whilst we at Starburst might not necessarily be that damning, we are however struggling to find one point of recommendation for The Cloth, a single reason why readers would want to fork out hard-earned cash for this mess, except, of course, in order to see for themselves how bad it really is. Trust us, it’s bad. Depressingly bad.
The Cloth ‘stars’ Danny Trejo, he of Machete fame. And by ‘stars’, we mean that Machete has the smallest of cameo roles, so astonishingly fleeting, that by the time you have asked yourself, “is that Danny Trejo? What the hell is he doing in this piece of crap?” his presence has vanished from the film forever, never to return. Perhaps Danny owed someone a favour, or just needed the money. Even sadder, however, is the appearance of Eric Roberts, as a priest (there are lots of priests in The Cloth, including Danny Trejo). Eric ain’t no Max von Sydow either, though, and this is a far cry from the halcyon days of his working for Dusan Makvejev on The Coca-Cola Kid. His role in The Cloth, like that of Danny Trejo, is inconsequential to say the least, and short-lived (did we mention that if you blink you’ll miss Danny Trejo?) Top billing, then, is no reason why you should waste your time with this.
The real star of The Cloth is, in fact, someone named Kyler Willett, making his screen debut as Jason, a reluctant and surly young man recruited into the cloth to battle demons (quite why this honour is bestowed upon him is anyone’s guess, being, as he is, so reluctant and surly). Willett spends most of the film wearing an oversized Celtic cross over a black leather vest, resembling an unpaid extra in an amateur dramatic production of Richard The Lionheart. The film’s hyphenate writer-director, Justin Price casts himself as the bad guy, the demon Kasdeya. Winningly, Price gives himself a ménage-a-trois sex scene with two hot girls that is both deeply artistic and completely necessary to the plot (PLEASE NOTE: reviewer finds it impossible not to resort to sarcasm at this point, so depressingly bad is The Cloth). Meanwhile, Jason battle demons with a laser gun. What happens after that becomes somewhat unclear due to the film’s general lack of narrative cohesion. Cinematic storytelling is evidently not writer-director Price’s strong point, although the menage-a-trois sex scene with the two hot chicks is quite well shot. Price obviously devoted much of the film’s production schedule to this all-important scene.
And so to the visual effects. Demons in The Cloth are, as mentioned, vanquished by laser gun – an obvious intertextual reference to the likes of Legion and Constantine, (and standard practice as set out in the guidelines of the Roman Catholic ritual of exorcism). Unlike the visual effects in Legion and Constantine, however, those in The Cloth appear to have been created on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Surprising, then, that the credits list a visual effects crew of at least six people. How many people does it take to press a button on After Effects? Unless you take delight in visual effects that make the average 1980s Charles Band B-movie look like Avatar by comparison, we urge you to stay clear. Admittedly the opening credits are quite impressive. Writer-director Price clearly thinks so too; they are repeated in their entirety as the end credits. Perhaps some of the film’s $4 million budget (estimated) was invested in this credit sequence. Or perhaps most of it was spent on Danny Trejo’s appearance – despite it lasting all of five seconds.
We give The Cloth one out of ten based on the “Devil’s nutsack” line of dialogue, a deeply moving moment. The power of Christ compels you to stay away from this turkey.