Dark Angel: The Ascent (1994)
WRITER: Matthew Bright
DIRECTOR: L. Hassani
Daniel Markel as Dr. Max Barris
Michael Genovese as Detective Harper
Charlotte Stewart as Mother Theresa
Nicholas Worth as Father Helliken
Michael C. Mahon as Detective Greenberg
Milton James as Mayor Wharton
Angela Featherstone as Veronica
SYNOPSIS: A young girl from another land ventures forth into the real world with her animal companion, where her strange ways clash with ours. As she seeks to find her purpose, she creates new clothes out of fabrics laying around the house. If there was more singing and less killing, this would be Enchanted.
THE WHOLE BLOODY MESS:
The movie wastes no time with an opening scene, and jumps right into the credits. The fiery, flamey credits. I don't recall seeing this gimmick too much, but it's definitely a step up to make it look like you're looking through the credits and into flames behind the screen. Better than just plain text, that's for sure. And it is definitely eye catching.
The pretty, fiery, burny, lovely words (I like fire, shut up) play out as the background pans down, down, down, and down, down deeper and deeper through a cross-section of an Earth that in no way resembles any actual scientific model. As it goes deeper and deeper, things start to get redder and more flamey. So yeah, we've descended down until we bumped into Hell. Yes, Hell is a real place in this movie, and buried deep underground, so strap on the suspenders of disbelief.
Once we're in Hell, you see pretty much what one would expect; chains, torture, and weirdness. There's people with small cages on their heads (I can't even imagine what punishment that is), being dragged about working on a chain gang. One oddity of note is everyone seems to be carrying torches. You would think out of anyplace on Earth, or in it as the case may be, Hell would be the one place where you didn't need to carry around fire for light and heat, due to rather ample supplies.
Torture, torture, fire, screams of torment, more torture, more fire...you know, pretty much Hell as expected. Or possibly Los Angeles. These establishing shots go on for far too long, and could serve as someone's torture themselves. I hope the filmmakers are forced to watch an endless loop of them once they get what's coming to them.
Because Jacob's Ladder was all the rage in the 90s, and many other movies did it, of course Dark Angel has to have its own scene of freaky people shaking their heads around rapidly in a bizarrely surreal way. And as usual, it looks equally cheesy and creep me out at the same time. That effect always has.
Finally, the movie decides to do more than scream at us, and someone actually gets to talk. A head demon type person is giving some on the job training to some neophytes, and giving examples of punishment methods. The one that leapt out at me was bankers getting branded on their foreheads with their self worth. At least, I think that's what it was, and it makes sense.
One of the trainees is Veronica, and she's our lead character. The demons in this movie take a mostly human approach, with their only outstanding characteristics being small horns, a lack of eyebrows, leathery wings that don't do anything but hang there on the backs, pointy ears, and black talons instead of fingernails. Pretty basic, but I think it's a simple and effective design. Keeps the lead from being too inhuman to associate and empathise with, while still making sure that yes, she is clearly not human.
Anyways, Veronica keeps having dreams of a land with a blue ceiling and a golden orb placed in the center of it. Her teacher hears of these dreams, and promptly smacks her down to the ground. What you want from Hell, understanding? Ever since the Fall (Of Lucifer I presume, but it is never outright stated, as the movie shys just on the cautious side of saying anything about religion), demons are forbidden from leaving Hell, or even speaking of such things. Veronica continues to be curious, and to want to *ahem* spread her wings. There's some teenaged allegory here somewhere.
Her friend (She's a demon, so I don't know how friendly she is, but we'll roll with it) tells Veronica of a pathway she has heard of that may lead to the outside world. Veronica has to see this for herself, so her friend takes her there. Oh, and she's named Mary, which is just rife with so many connotations that make me twitch, I don't want to think about it.
Veronica seeks out her father, and finds him as he's slicing out the tongues of liars. Because this movie just needed more torture. He confronts her on speaking about her blasphemous talk, and from the way he's acting, I expect his head to explode, he's that upset. It's way over the top, but works with their fear of God, and the whole angry demon thing. There's an almost religious fervor tone to it.
And once again, Veronica gets smacked down to the ground for her insolence. Note to self: Demons are not nice.
Veronica heads home and finds her mother preparing dinner. If not for the horns and claws, etc, this scene actually would be a typical teenager moment. Dad hates her, mother defends him saying he's not so bad and tries to empathise with her daughter. Even throws out the classic bit about them being young once too. And yes, Veronica has trouble picturing her parents at her own age. Ladies and gentlemen I give you The Demon Family! Coming this fall to FOX!
On tonight's episode, the Demontrose family is shaken apart by their daughter's desire to see the world above! They sit down to dinner to pray for guidance, but will God hear their prayers, or instead smite the foul abominations? Be sure you don't miss tonight's episode of The Demon Family!
And then FOX cancels it.
Veronica's momster tries to get her daughter to apologise to Helliken, but Veronica resists, even when her father grabs a sword and threatens her with it. Some people would say that's beyond typical family drama, but I know a few families where that's pretty tame.
Rather than die by the sword, Veronica gets the heaven out of there, and her hellhound follows. She gets back to the tunnel with light streaming through it, and crawls through the Veronica sized hole while the movie wanders above ground to the real world.
Things don't remain normal for long, as Veronica pushes aside a mahole cover and climbs out of the sewers and into the city above. I do slightly question how light shone through the sewers and into the tunnel all the way down to Hell, but as far as logical infractions go this is pretty minor for this site. I'll give them a pass.
Hell, the underworld is apparently just below the NYC subway system, the light could've been anything. A subway car, a maintenance worker, or just magically glowing as a guide to the demons who need to see it.
Veronica climbs out after bumping into Princess Giselle, her dog is still following, and once up on the surface world, she decides her demonic features just will not do for blending in, so she changes her visage to that of a normal, redheaded girl. Minus the clothes she was wearing. They just up and disappear with the horns and wings. Those might have been something worth keeping, V. A naked girl will not blend in any better in the city than a demon would.
Well, maybe in Los Angeles.
Of course, the real reason for her nakedness is for titilation, we all know that. Its driven home as the movie spends a lot of lingering shots on her naked back. And naked front. And naked everything, as she realises her demonic features are gone. So, did she make them go away, or was all her demonic stuff banished by God? Or was it a reflexive action? I dunno. The camera is in no hurry to move along from the nakedness, though. It is quite happy making sure she is quite human. In every detail. Almost too much detail.
A naked redhead draws just about as much attention as one might expect, and the crowd is suddenly all around her staring. Because what else are you gonna do if you're walking home and a naked girl crawls up out of the sewers?
Veronica has a self-concious moment (I wonder if it was pride?) and she runs off, following her dog to some discarded clothes. He's like the four-legged version of Eric Draven's avian associate.
While V is doing some garbage shopping, we get to meet Dr. Max, attending to a man who was trying to rob someone and got shot by an old woman. She gets coincidentally rolled in next to her assailant, and they're both in critical shape. Max isn't sure whom to help, as he's a good person, and a doctor, and finally he sends the thief off to surgery and attends to the old woman, but it's too late and she passes away.
The movie steps into more allegory, as Max muses on the world going to Hell. In the 90s, crime is pretty bad, and a lot of people shared that sentiment. Making those feelings manifest in a movie where someone from Hell is actually coming up to deal with the problems, is actually a nice touch for this sort of film.
Max is out on a balcony when he spies our favourite redhead wandering the streets in little more than an overcoat and boots. She looks up and spies someone clad all in white watching her from above. Not exactly subtle, but again, it works for the characters.
Veronica being the clueless newbie to Earth, doesn't hear the car horn behind her, or know what it is, and gets run down. Typical New York driver.
While Max does the proper doctorly thing and brings her into the hospital, I wonder if her demonic nature would have been a factor in survivng. Does she even need medical attention? Either way, better safe than sorry.
The heating in her room keeps breaking down, which explains all the fire in Hell, I guess. The demons just want to stay warm!
And the weirdness continues as it is noticed that her feet are abnormally large for a woman. Why? Damned if I know.
Veronica wakes up and learns her 'beast' is hanging out at the pound, and she goes over to the open window. Well, that would be why the room is cold, guys!
Max urges V to get back into bed and get some sleep, and she literally closes her eyes and is asleep like she flipped a switch in her head. I wish I could do that.
While Veronica sleeps, Max kills time (and fills up pages of script) to check on the dog, named Hellraiser, and finds out he's apparently escaped.
The next day he goes to tell his patient the news, and she's already awake and staring out the window. She calls Max by name, but never heard it. Ahh, demonic mental powers. She's also not concerned about Hellraiser, since he's sitting outside staring at the window and waiting patiently for his owner.
Max collected some clothes for her, since she has nothing but what she got hit in, and even offers her a pair of mens work boots he hopes will fit her ginormous feet.
Since no one can see anything wrong with Demonica, the hospital lets her go. Probably more likely that she has no ID, no wallet, and no means of paying, but 'there's nothing wrong with her' sounds better to the lawyers.
Veronica speaks in an odd, matter of fact way, which may be cliche, but also works for her. She's from a very strict world, helps set her apart from regular humans, and suits her. There is something so innocent and earnest in the way the actress delivers the lines, and even though she's a demon, it works for a fish out of water.
Max tries to find her family, since he's not keen on letting the odd-talking stranger into his home, but Veronica throws a little mental mojo at him that would make Jean Grey proud. What is it with redheads and telepathy? She's so good at it, she makes a button pop right off his shirt. I could postulate all day about what that means.
So he takes the girl home of his not exactly free will, and Hellraiser is waiting at the door for the pair. He even heads straight for Max's apartment, which befuddles the poor doctor. He's befuddled frequently during the movie.
The neighbours are causing a ruckus, and Max tells V to just ignore them. Ahh, the quiet complicity of doing nothing. Veronica uses her magic sinth sense, and knows the man is an adulterer, and blurts that out to Max. This doesn't freak him out, since it seems to be common knowledge.
Max heads to grab some sleep before his night shift, and tells Veronica to make herself at home. I hope Max doesn't wake up to a flaming apartment filled with tortured neighbours.
While Max zonks, Veronica raids the fridge, or rather looks at the bare spoils left behind by previous raids, and checks out the tv. I'm sure giving the torturer in training a device that shows just how awful the world is was a great idea. I really hope she groks the difference between reality and fantasy as well, or there could be some very surprised actors when she misinterprets a tv show for fact.
Max wakes up and finds Veronica still staring at the tv. Yeah, she'll fit in just find. She laments about how much evil there is in the world (I TOLD YOU!) and this is only in 1994. Just wait until she sees true evil in a few years; reality tv.
Veronica gets left by herself as Max heads out to work. She goes exploring the city, and while looking at a magazine article about the local corrupt mayor, she comes face to face with a pair of nuns. Veronica immediately falls to her knees and prostrates herself before the servants of God.
I really like this movie's take on demons. Of course demons should fear God, and making them pretty religious is a refreshing take, as well as seeking to please their God, as well as making them rather more moral than usual. The demons of Dark Angel are seeking redemption for themselves and their entire race for the mistake of one man. Humans had Jesus to raise us up, but the demons had only Lucifer who cast a shadow upon them all and condemned the lot to the pit.
The nuns offer the poor girl food and lodging at their church, but what with being a demon, Veronica has to refuse. The demons have it rougher with God than we do, what with being damned in his eyes. Geeze.
Instead, they give her a cross for comfort, but it immediately begins to make her hand smolder. And I'm being generous, what with the amount of smoke that pours out. When Veronica drops it, the metal cross actually is so hot it bursts into flames.
She's baffled why the servants of the Lord would do something so cruel to her, and she runs off confused, and Hellraiser ever at her heels. She stumbles across a pair of thugs mugging a woman.
In between cuts of Veronica, the movie commits a cardinal sin of movie making by utterly botching their continuity. It's one thing to have a button become unbuttoned, or hair a little off, but this movie... Dark Angel has a guy's entire wardrobe change. The scene shifts quite a bit, although at least stays in the same place, and I think even the lighting setup is radically different. That is downright, astoundingly bad.
Veronica is so pissed off at how slipshod this movie is, that she begins to change back into a demon at the sight, and grabs a nearby, handy pipe.
The thugs are more than happy to play with the pretty new toy, despite her weapon. She's just a girl, right? They don't know how powerful she is, but they're quickly corrected as the one who can't pick which shirt to wear get the pipe easily thrown right through his chest and out the other side, and the other gets his spine torn out.
They somehow get the dog to give this great, completely shocked look of WTF?! at the spine removal, which is one of the best things ever.
And gee, for some reason, the hapless victim in all this doesn't want to keep the spine of her assailant. I don't see why not. I'd hang that thing up with pride!
Once the police arrive, all they find is the traumatised victim, who is probably actually worse off than she would have been from a simple mugging, and the flayed bodies of her attackers, strung up and dangling from the trees like a pair of deer.
Unfortunately, they also find the bloody doctor's coat Veronica got as a loaner from the hospital. Every good murderer knows you burn the bloody clothes and not leave them at the crime scene, especially if they've got a tag of where they came from! Er, so I hear.
Max is trying to phone Veronica as the victim gets wheeled into the hospital, in a very Dickensian coincidence. She begins ranting about the end of days, fire, you know the drill. Now, sure. Veronica tore out a spine, and speared a guy with a lead pipe, but besides a little glowing eye action, there wasn't really anything about the attack that screamed demons. Granted, there WAS an actual demon there, but the witness is sure jumping to conclusions based on what we saw. Ok, she was right about the dog eating entrails.
Eventually Max returns home to find Veronica has prepared dinner for him, and I shudder to think what it may be made of, especially considering the chunks of meat missing from the muggers.
So yeah, it's pretty clear where the meal came from. If it's still a bit fuzzy, let's just say that Veronica borrowed Landau and Maltby's recipe for Lotus Cat Food. Boy is it ever creepy to hear Max complimenting her on how amazingly good the meat is.
Veronica makes some small talk and asks Max how work was. He tells her about the crazy lady (She created) that was brought in. She seems rather pleased with herself that her good works, even overzealous ones, have been noticed. She expects the person responsible to be rewarded for doing a good deed, but Max tells her that they would rather look him (cough, her) up. Frankly I'm more on the side of rewarding, but I may just be a sucker for a pretty redhead.
This leads to a bit of a religious discussion, as Veronica sees what the killer (cough, her) did as being godly, and metting out God's just punishment, but Max just can't understand how doing something like that to someone, no matter how evil, could possibly be godly.
Hey Max? How's the dinner?
They both agree on the preciousness of life, but after that they differ. Max wants to preserve life at all costs, no matter whose it is, like we saw when he was trying to save the old woman and robber. That's why he became a doctor. Veronica on the other claw...well, we're back to God's vengeance. She's perfectly ok with executionaling people and going all Spectre on them since they've wasted the gift of life God has given them. Surprisingly, Max concedes she has a point, but doesn't necessarilly agree with it. If only more arguments could be settled that way.
While Max heads to grab a nap, and Veronica sets a new record for fastest typing, the two detectives take the new case to their chief. Not surprisingly, he's not really on board with starting a citywide manhunt for a killer who's taking out muggers. He probably figures the killer is doing their job better than they were.
Elsewhere, a black man passes a cop car, and starts to get hassled by the two men in blue. Or grey, as the case may be. All while V watches with interest.
Now, the movie never quite says where it takes place, what city it is, but there's a strong leaning towards it being in America. Everyone speaks pretty decent English, and everything is referred to by American words. Now, it might just be my Americentric viewpoint, but that's the way I see it. This completely falls apart with these cops, though. I could maybe explain away the uniforms as being a local variant, but the car is what kills it. On the hood, written very clearly, is Politia. That's not very United Statesian. That's Italian, isn't it? I seem to recall this movie being filmed there. Aside from that little detail though, the movie feels very much like it is in the US.
Although there's a certain logic to this being in Rome, as well.
Anyways, the cops commence their beatdown on the poor guy for no good reason, and our dark angel swoops in and the entire scene lights up orange. This oddly enough doesn't bother the cops, and they just tell her to move along. If I was suddenly surrounded by an orange glow, I'd probably question it. At least a little. Or maybe notice it.
The politia threaten to toss Veronica in jail on a prostitution charge, but she throws the penance stare at them, and threatens them back with dying in a state of mortal sin. She wins.
She slashes one of the cop's throat, and the other meets the same fate about half a second later. Veronica barely even took a single step during the fight. Hell, I can't even call it a fight, since the cops fell like meatsacks in almost the blink of an eye.
Once again, the victim of the assault just is not grateful for Veronica's assistance, and is instead mildly horrified by the dead men at his feet. I gotta side with V again here. The politia were going to pummel his ass to a fine, red mist. Show some gratitude, not attitude! Now, when the dog starts gnawing away at the bodies, ok, then you can be a little creeped out.
Meanwhile, at the Hell of Justice, Veronica's mom is praying to God for her daughter's safety and well-being, and some other bits and pieces. Surprisingly, her prayer is actually heard. And even answered!
A scrubbing bubble floats down towards her from a hole in the wall, and a heavenly phone operator bobbing along inside. She gives Veronica's mother some reassuring words, and tells her that her daughter has been sanctioned to do her good work. So, apparently God IS cool with murdering thugs. So much for moral ambiguity.
The detectives find the dead cops, and forward the note Veronica crammed in one of their mouths to Mayor Wharton. I'm pretty sure the post office would've gotten the job done. Although at least this way her ramblings about evil ways and repentence won't be seen as the words of some crank.
And moments after I thought that, the Mayor says it probably is exactly that. Look, the note was shoved into the mouth of a dead cop, laying atop another dead cop, with no sign of either of them touching their assailant. That goes beyond crank in the Book of Jason.
The mayor inquires as to just what the dead cops did that was so wicked, and the detectives do point out that the pair of them had a number of excessive force charges. I like that the detectives may be against the murders, simply because they're law enforcement, but they do understand them.
They finish up with the mayor and swing by Max's for questioning, and run smack dab into Veronica. So close, guys. Since Max is out, they decided to question V about him and the murders. They ask who she is, and I just have to give her full name, because it's just so absurdly long; Veronica Theresa Maria Agnes Allepi Esther Valeria Iscariot. Jingle Heimer Schmidt. Hey, that's my name too!
Is Iscariot a common name? Anywhere?
Veronica continues to stick with her world view that the murdered people were bad people and destined for damnation anyways. And still, I'm having a hard time arguing against the pretty redhead. And hey, she's even been given the A-OK by GOD HIMSELF. We're being asked to side with her, practically.
One of the 'Tecs catches a glimpse of one of Max's patient reports, and notices some similarities to some quirks in the typed note sent to the mayor. This has always been one of my favourite tricks in detective stories, mainly because it's actually true. A typewriter is almost as unique as a fingerprint, and you can actually track down a document to the typewriter if it has a visible glitch in how it types. Whenever someone wheels out that "document X was printed on typewriter Y because this letter clearly came from this typehead" I have a moment of glee.
The interrogation takes a subtle turn as Veronica begins to question the detectives about the mayor. She tries to figure out a little of the way the world works, and if the cops serve the mayor. They tell her no, they serve the people of the city, which is fortunately both the right answer, and the truth. Veronica probably has pipes just behind her chair, waiting to be thrown at liars.
The detectives remember why they're there, and take back over the questioning, and bring up the bloody doctor's coat with the tag from the hospital Max works at, and how they followed that lead to Max himself. It's never made clear HOW they single out Max, mind you. Veronica rightly scoffs at the idea that Max could hurt anyone or anythhing, and then blurts out that she's a more likely suspect. Which that, and her big-ass feet, actually catches the attention of one of the detectives. It would've been nice if they said something about looking for large, man-sized footprints, but aside from being weird, the feet never come into play.
Since they have other people to question, Veronica sees the gentlemen out, and tells them how pleased she is to meet men not tainted by corruption. It is a nice thing to see, isn't it, Miss Iscariot?
The detectives actually have a brain or maybe even two between them, they've got a strong suspicion that Veronica may be their guy. How rare is it in films these days to have cops that aren't corrupt AND smart?
Max comes home from another shift, and finds Veronica in a pretty tight, black, leather dress. Do demons breath? Er, I digress. She claims she made the dress herself, and with the precedent of the food, I can only imagine where, or whom, she got the material from. At least she's not just killing to kill, but using every part of the animal! Sadly, the movie tricked us, and as we're certainl she's wearing human flesh, they show us shredded leather couch cushions. Which is far less interesting.
And again I point out the similarity to events in Enchanted.
The detectives watch as the couple head off to the movies, and boy what a movie it is! Veronica had a particular film in mind, and Max is more than a little chagrined to discover once they're in the theatre that it's a porno. Greenberg and Harper seem to be enjoying themselves at least, until Veronica turns and glares at them.
As they all leave the theatre, there is this really weird moment where Detective Greenberg walks into this gigantic, gaping...hell, it's way more than a pothole. It's like a missing chunk of road that he flat out stumbles into and lands in waist-deep water. I have no idea why it happened, why it's in the film, or anything. I almost wonder if it was actual caught footage they decided to keep.
Anyways, back to what passes for normal in Dark Angel, the doctor and his pet demon head to a dance club where all the random movements, noise, shouting, and bright flashing lights probably make Veronica feel right at home.
While there, an old friend of Max's comes over and asks him why he never calls. Geeze, I dunno, maybe because your face is giving ME nightmares! I can only imagine Max's reaction to it being right there in his face.
Veronica insults Jojo the dog-faced girl, because she can tell that the woman wants to bump uglies with Max, and tact isn't quite V's strong suit. She's a bit more direct in telling Max why she said what she did. I love her straightforward naivete and bluntness. If you can call someone who uses words like fornicate naive, that is.
She follows the old friend into the ladies room, sends most everyone else out, and attacks the woman, pissed off at her daring to covet Veronica's man. Considering that Max is neither Veronica's spouse nor property, I'm not sure the commandments actually apply here, and God might let this infraction slide.
One of the people she missed in the stalls doing coke, until he and his girl make noise that draws the angry demon's attention. She pokes her head in the stall and gets a knife in the gut for her troubles, as the couple runs away.
Veronica believes the attack is some form of divine punishment for overstepping her authority, and giving in to human jealousy, attacking a woman who wasn't actually guilty of anything, so asks the woman for forgiveness and lets her go.
Detective Harper pokes his nose in to see if the restroom is free but finds Veronica instead, and she confronts him with some claws to the belly. She demands that the pair leave her and Max alone. She doesn't want to kill the cops, and has no good reason to do so, but it would be just as well if they kept their distance.
Harper doesn't seem quite ready to give up, so Veronica gives him some incentive by way of showing him just what she is, with all the fire and brimstone that implies. He doesn't take it well, and stumbles out of the club while Max and Veronica dance. Until he notices the bleeding gut wound she has.
So after a busy night of porn, dancing, terrifying the innocent, traumatising cops, getting stabbed, and a little dancing, they head back to Max's so he can patch her up. She refuses to go to the hospital, which means the impromptu surgery will be without anesthesia. Coming from the land of torture and punishment, she can probably take it. At least she's not being smacked down to the ground every five minutes. Stitches and stabbings are probably a step up.
Veronica decides that while she's being poked with a needle and thread is the perfect time to ask Max if he's attracted to her. Ok, she's got manfeet and all, but she's still a reasonably attractive redhead in a skintight leather skirt and top. The correct answer is YES. As if that wasn't bad enough, she blurts out how she wants to have, and I quote, "sexual intercourse". Again, the correct answer is...
She's not done yet though, and decides the best way to follow up that question is to inform Max that she's not human. I wish there were humans that looked half as good as she does...
Not surprisingly, once they've patched the girl up, they head to the bedroom. Where the bed is surrounded by a truly stupid amount of candles. At least if that fire hazard goes horribly awry, Veronica will feel right at home. Although I wonder just how they got to the bed, since every inch of floor is covered As they go at it, the clock by the bedside stops, then the clockface shattered. That is some sex right there.
And on top of all that, Veronica's body reverts fully to her demonic form, and Max manages to not freak out in the slightest. The man may well actually be a saint.
Traumatised Detective Harper is in a meeting with the chief, and he wants off the case, and I can't say I blame him. He wants an explanation, and another odd moment occurs as the map hanging behind him and Greenberg falls off the wall. I don't know if that was supposed to be significantly mystical and planned, or another moment of accidental footage they decided to keep.
Once Max and V are done with their sexual olympics, they turn to some casual pillow talk, like Max asking Veronica if she's responsible for the murders. Which she outright admits to. In fact, I don't think she's outright lied the entire movie, which makes sense with how much she reveres God and all his teachings.
Things wander from their to theological discussions, and Max seems oddly ok with his girlfriend being a murderous demon. At least it's for a good cause. He asks if there's actually a Heaven, and Veronica confirms there is one, but then it goes weird again and she describes it as a giant whale with God seated at the center of it all. Ok then. Heaven is a whale.
Veronica pulls a Dark City on Max and commands him to sleep, while she gets dressed and sics Hellraiser to find the mayor. They head to his home where there's a guard watching whom she actually DOES pull a Dark City move on and puts him to sleep by waving her hand in front of his face.
The mayor is oblivious to all this as he heads to sleep, and is followed by Veronica and her puppy. We find him in the bathroom, where his teeth and fingernails begin to come out. He rushes out to his bedroom, and everything is back to normal. We've never seen Veronica do anything like this before, or after, and nothing is ever made of it besides the Mayor freaking out, but we're supposed to think it's her playing with him.
Veronica finally catches up with the bastard and throws him down on the bed. This is the greatest failing of the movie, frankly. They really should have built him up as a more clearly wicked person. We never see him do anything, if he's involved in any nefarious plots or corruption. We just get told that he's a bad man, without any specifics. If he's the big bad of the movie, give us some reasons to hate him, and cheer on Veronica.
Anyways, she holds him down and gives him the old glowy star eyes, and watches him squirm as visions of Hell and the fate that awaits him there fill his mind.
As Veronica tries to escape, another guard pops up and marks her right in the back with his gun. As she falls to the ground, the holy scrubbing bubble appears to her parents, and tell them she's in danger. The bubbly girl needs their permission to bring Veronica home and dunk her in the River Styx.
Another slight failing here, as the movie has never really set down just how hurt she can get, how human she is, what's her healing like...these are important questions. Rather than arbitrarily decide that she can't be shot, since that might actually killer her, try and build it up, rather than making it be randomly convenient for the plot and drama.
It's just not clear why the bullet is a mortal threat to her, and the gut stabbing was pretty much stitched right up. Why not just head home to Max's care again? What makes this require such drastic measures as a permission slip signed by mom and dad, and a bath in the Styx? I'd say it's a minor gripe, but it still bugs me.
Anyways, with permission granted, the bubble lady appears in the mirror in Max's bedroom, and takes Veronica with her. After this, I don't think I'd ever walk around naked again. If God has a direct line to my mirror...
Max is reluctant to let her go, and says as she leaves that if she can't find a way back to him, he'll do something so terrible that he'll be guaranteed to go to Hell and be with her. That's twistedly romantic.
Oh Max, you know that meat you loved so much? I think that's your in with Hell right there.
Hellraiser stays behind to keep Max company, and they watch the news where the mayor interupts and has a bit of a breakdown and repenting for his sins. He says he plans to retire and spend his remaining years at a monestary to find forgiveness. It's a nice touch to give Veronica the character arc of finding a way other than killing.
Later that night, Max's mirror goes from glowing to burning. He really ought to get that thing checked out, the settings seem on the fritz. The mirror explodes into a ball fo flames, and out of that chaos steps Veronica, healed and whole once more. She's wearing what can only be described as a black wedding dress and veil. Possibly a burial gown? Either option is weird. And does this mean they're actually married now? She can't go into a church, but if God says it's ok in this way...
She climbs over Max, reunited with him, and as they kiss, Max thanks God, which seems wrong and oddly appropriate all at the same time.
With Veronica the demon getting a happy ending and finding true love, the movie ends, and that means it is time for...
Video: I've seen better, I've seen worse. It's clearly a direct to video piece, with the quality you would expect from the 90s. It's not awful, but it is what it is, and it won't get much better.
Audio: Like the video, nothing special.
Special Features: Like all Full Moon features, there's a VideoZone featurette from the original VHS release in the 90s, so it's short, but nifty in its own way.
Best Line: Detective Greenberg to his partner, "You wanna put a tail on her? Because I wouldn't be surprised if she already had one." Which makes no sense. There's no reason to suspect she's a demon. A murderer, sure. But from the pits of Hell? Nope.
First Kill: Barring the old woman who died from the mugging at the start of the movie that Max couldn't save, that would be 31 minutes in, when Veronica spears a thug with a pipe in the chest for crimes against continuity.
Best Kill: Shortly follows that with his partner in crime, when Veronica rips out his spine.
Blood Type: There's quite a bit of blood, but it's all on removed pieces, such as the spine, and hearts, and other pieces. They never actually spew blood during any scenes. The most blood there is, comes from Veronica's knife wound.
Sex Appeal: If you like naked redheads, you're in for a treat. Angela Featherstone as Veronica gets a lot of naked screentime, or bare chest time.
Movie Rating: Like much of Full Moon's fare, this movie isn't THAT bad. But it is cheap, and it has some giant flaws. The plot never quite gels, and is really just a collection of scenes of the new girl in town finding her footing. There's no villain, there's not really any plot beyond Veronica's adventures. It tries too hard to be relevant, or for allegory that it quickly drops like the teen angst coming of age angle. If they'd picked a story and ran with it, it would be fine. I also get the feeling that this was trying to set up a franchise, like a lot of Full Moon's other properties, and the movie may have suffered from just being setup for other stories. Honestly, I wish we had seen more of Veronica, because even flawed, there's a decent enough script here, and I give it four out of five head cages.
Entertainment Rating: Ok, I'm biased. It's a movie about a telepathic redhead kicking ass and taking names, and occasionally being naked. I enjoyed this movie a whole hell of a lot, and as I said, wish there had been more in the series. It's a fun adventure movie that can kill a few hours with friends, and what more can you ask for? Four out of five hellhounds