1995. Directed by Gregory Widen
Considered to be one of the better modern cult films, The Prophecy was so popular with horror/fantasy fans that it spawned four sequels and has influenced countless other films involving the cosmic war between Angels of Heaven and Hell.
Elias Koteas stars as Thomas Daggett, a failed priest who has become a homicide detective. He's drawn into the ultimate battle when he encounters Simon (Eric Stoltz), an Angel for Heaven. An evil soul is ready to be claimed and whichever side claims it will have the upper hand. This soon summons Gabriel (Christopher Walken), the representative of Hell to the battlefield. Trapped in the middle is a tough school teacher Katherine (Virginia Madsen) and her wards.
The reason this film has garnered such a cult following is due to several crucial elements. First, it's world building. One of the coolest things about the film is how the Angels are always perched. On top of chairs, buildings, cars, etc, the Angels have an out of time feeling and it comes across with ease. Additionally, many of Gabriel's powers are subtle and often humorous. From his whispering "shhh" and killing a security guard to him keeping suicide victims alive simply to drive him around, it's apparent how powerful these beings are without special effects overkill. Also, the method by which souls are taken and then hidden is genius and leads to one of the film's most iconic instrument related scenes.
The cast is legendary, given the film's budget (by today's standards). Christopher Walken almost steals the show. His Gabriel is evil but also hilarious. Walken can literally turn the dial to either extreme with the snap of his fingers and it's electrifying. However, Viggo Mortensen is the showstopper. His turn as Lucifer is arguably one of the best interpretations of the devil ever committed to the screen. Mortensen dominates every second of his precious screen time by remaining restrained, but unflinchingly malignant in his approach.
Finally, the crew did an amazing job. Widen's script has menace and humor and some outright confounding choices in narrative that work because they're so...corny. The main character is a failed priest named Thomas, for example. But even with knowledge of this, you buy into it because he's not a tacky cardboard cut out. Richard Clabuagh and Bruce Johnson's cinematography is sparse and doesn't try to elevate the film above it's b movie grandeur.
The Prophecy isn't a life changing film, but it is a wonderfully made adult horror film that provides a creative fantasy world to experience for 97 minutes. It's a world populated by wonderful, rich characters that brought to life by its uncommonly solid cast.
A great Friday night popcorn experience.