Textual content © Richard
Gary / Indie Horror Movies, 2023
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Fortress of Sin
by Paul Chomicki and Christian Voss
Ragged Sky Productions; Cinema626; The AKG Adjoining; Wild Eye Releasing; MVD
73 minutes, 2022
“They obtained weapons
We obtained weapons
All god’s chillren obtained weapons…”
This movie has been a again burner
mission of affection for star, co-writer, and co-director Paul Chomicki for
actually many years. With the assistance of his buddies Christian Voss and Lengthy Island
director Dave Campfield, his dream has turn out to be a actuality.
Tales of fathers wanting
for daughter who’ve turn out to be concerned with severe conditions just isn’t new, together with
Hardcore (1979) starring George C. Scott. However Chomicki updates it and
provides in ritualistic components to up the ante. Whereas Chomicki is principally identified for
off the wall comedies, such because the Caesar and Otto franchise, he units down some
severe roots right here.
Within the prologue, Alyanna Blackwater
(Katie Otten) escapes from a violent spiritual cult in Nevada (round Hay Spring)
referred to as the Church of Ascension (aka Ascend), run by spooky “Father” Lucien Reed
(Avi Ok. Garg). Her disappearance is mentioned over the radio newscasts all through
the primary act. You already know this can be expository info for what’s to
In the meantime, Harry (Chomicki,
along with his thick Lengthy Island accent) is down on his luck. He’s an unemployed alcoholic
who lives alone, and separated from his spouse, Krista (Rae Hartwell). He’s additionally
estranged from his daughter, Robin (Jama Bourne), although the division between
the 2 just isn’t actually examined right here; she desires the connection, he doesn’t.
When she vanishes, leaving a cryptic message on Harry’s telephone, he units out to
Harry heads north in the direction of
a First Nations/American Indian reservation (Cheyenne), the place he believes her to
be held by the (white) cult, in a desolate a part of the state (not stunning,
as Aboriginals have been screwed out of their lands and positioned in locations that tended
to be almost inhospitable, each within the US and Canada). However extra about that
There’s a giant, blended
and overlapping bag of goodies right here, from a non secular cult (non-Satanic for as soon as)
to human traffickers, to scavengers, and every yet one more harmful than the
different. Add Harry looking for Robin and a revenge-fueled Alyanna, and you’ve got
violence, mayhem, and a little bit of a time clock as Harry wants insulin, and shortly.
Additionally looking for Robin in a separate-but-equal storyline is Sherriff Ritter (co-director
The panorama is stark,
and we see quite a few (and exquisite) deserted buildings and ruins among the many windy plains to its desolate and disparate
foothills. Voss’s cinematography brings the realm to life, to represent a kind
of close to demise.
The social commentary is
deep and widespread via the story. It explores the risks of cults and the way
they prey on the lonely and scared/scarred, and the way it’s straightforward to fall sufferer.
However extra central to the story is the lengthy historical past of the plains (and of Western
Canada, as properly) so far as the extremely substantial variety of Indigenous
ladies who go lacking yearly. There is a corporation devoted to this prevalence
referred to as Lacking and Murdered Indigenous Ladies (MIWW). It’s of overwhelming numbers. At the moment, I’m watching a tv program primarily based
on a collection of novels by Louise Penny referred to as “Three Pines,” which facilities round this subject.
There are some respectable gore
results, although it’s fortunately restricted, as that is extra in regards to the story than a
splatterfest. A lot of the physique results are SFX, whereas there’s some CGI used
sparingly, reminiscent of a rainstorm.
I’ve at all times identified Chomicki
as a comedy actor in slapstick movies, so it’s good to see him get severe. Whereas
his performing stays in a sure vary, he reveals that he can handle the drama as
properly because the goofiness, when wanted. The remainder of the forged additionally does properly,
together with Dave Campfield, who actually telephones it in (Zoom on a pc and by
cell telephones), in a task that’s key to the story, nevertheless.
Whereas recognizing that is
a life dream for Chomicki as lead actor (reasonably than co-lead), he has performed
himself proud. The movie is an efficient B thriller with little bit of violence and a social
aware. I like that.
You’ll want to stick round
after the credit. Maybe a sequel, with Disney nurse Scott Aguilar? I hope.
IMDB itemizing HERE