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Sci-Fi Pictures Original “Gargoyle” Review

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Someone should ban the use of CGI in movies. What was once an innovative, realistic, and excellent tool for filmmakers has turned countless movies into schlock. Suffering the worst are those films that go direct to video or to cable. The Sci-Fi Channel’s latest, “Gargoyle: Wings of Darkness,” would have failed miserably with or without traditional effects, but here they just make an awful movie into an unwatchable one.

Romania, 1592: A town is ravaged by an evil entity. After a struggle, the creature is defeated and sealed in a tomb. Romania, 2004: A series of earthquakes breaks open the now ancient tomb, releasing the gargoyle onto a new generation of civilians. Investigating the crime are two CIA agents working out of the US Embassy, but they begin looking in all the wrong places while the demon begins an overdue feast.

Right in the middle of “Gargoyles,” the CIA begins an investigation into a sort of vampiric cult. There is a scene here that could very well be stock footage from a cheap pornographic movie, complete with strippers and a buff male named Lex Slayer. It’s at this point you know this movie has no hope of digging itself out.

The director here is Jim Wynorski. He’s the one responsible for exposing the world to another Sci-Fi Channel original, “Curse of the Komodo,” and a movie composed almost entirely of stock footage, “Raptor.” He uses his talents here like he did in the latter two films. Actually, maybe “talents” isn’t quite the word I’m looking for.

To its credit, the script here does manage to try something different. There’s an attempt to add some religious and mythical qualities to the lead monster, but in the end, it only ends up creating more plot holes. There is no explanation as to how the creature survived 400 years in a hole, how it managed to lay over a hundred eggs (or when it did so), or why bullets effect it after a bishop clearly states the only thing that can phase it is “a priest pure of heart” using a special crossbow.

If there is any believable acting here, it must have been cut by a commercial to fit in the time allotted. The actors are all complete unknowns, adding no emotion even when a 10-foot tall monster is sweeping down to kill them. A kid on the Ferris wheel is by far the most comical scene in the movie. It’s amazing to think that someone can’t scream properly, but he pulls it off. None of the leads do their job with any more believability.

Not even the gargoyle can deliver. Nearly every scene involving him shows him sweeping in from the same side of the screen, slowly flying towards the camera, and them taking his victim away (or maybe just the head). The CG is so awful, not a single shot looks realistic. Even the animation, which is usually the only successful aspect, is terrible. For whatever reason, the muzzle flashes on the machine guns were all done in the computer too.

Chalk up another miserable failure for Sci-Fi. “Gargoyle” doesn’t even succeed in being campy or funny. Whatever is in their long-term business model must be hilarious. Can you imagine a board meeting where someone gives the green light to a movie like this? Why do they still have a job?

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • Tony L

    I agree, the Sci-Fi channel has been a major disappointment to me. I would rather watch the cheesy horror movies from the 50’s and 60’s than watch this CGI crap that is so prevalent today!

  • http://calblog.com Justene

    This review was chosen for Advance.net. You will be able to find it on newspaper sites including Cleveland.com.