God Told Me To 4K BluRay review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
"People who are too goddamned religious make a lot of trouble for everybody."
Detective Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco) of the NYPD is investigating a series of murders (some murder-suicides) that all have a puzzling revelation. The perpetrators admit on location that they did it because god had told them to. Nicholas, a devout Catholic, but nevertheless sceptic of what's going on, sets out to find a common thread between all the killings. Digging deeper into the victims, it leads him back to an alleged virgin birth in 1952. What he finds out, disturbs him, and draws him deeper into what seems a conspiracy at first, a possible alien abduction story second and ultimately a shocking truth that involves him, too....
The movie feels like a crossover between Stephen King and the movie Targets with Boris Karloff. It combines The Terror of an urban sniper with the metaphysical Horror of religiously inspired terrorism period. However, the movie is anything but an exploitation film. It is in fact a ponderous, well made and well acted character study. The religious aspect is early on put into question with elements of extraterrestrial reports, making you believe that this could in fact be some sort of alien abduction movie. However it all boils down to the self-doubt of its principal character, and the revelations that unfold in the last third of the movie. while the religious topic is the centerpiece of the movie it is not overly dominating the story in the sense of a social political criticism, or a deliberate religious context. The purpose of the religious parameters are the horror and atmosphere that dominate the aura of the threat scenario.
In this sense the movie succeeds at using something completely unexpected to create a horror movie. on the other hand it fails because it over promises and under delivers phenomenally - there is no terror there's no crazy horror, it is in fact a very tame albeit eerie movie period. Where it over achieves is in the quality of the storytelling and the characters and the writing, which are above average for a low budget exploitation movie. Ultimately I did not quite enjoy the movie as well as I hoped, because just isn't as exciting a motion picture experience as expected. But I was positively surprised by its quality and depth.
A bit of a bummer then, that the great actress Deborah Raffin (Ski Lift to Death) remains underused and her character almost irrelevant to the movie. Lo Bianco (The French Connection) is an excellent casting choice however, and as you can learn from the extras, if you look close, you will see Andy Kauffmann in this movie in a small cameo. Larry Cohen made tons of exciting movies, big and small. This one may be among his crowning achievements due to its quality and mainstream appeal. But if you're looking for grungy exploitation fare, you need to look elsewhere.
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The 4K UltraHD BluRay release adds to the recent roster of UHD-upgrades from the label. There is also the regular BluRay (which also boasts the Atmos track by the way), based on the new restoration, included in this package, which comes in a cardboard sleeve with a slightly embossed artwork.
The audio is very solid. I opted for the Atmos track, and while it hardly offers much in terms of surround sound it's just an overall very solid sounding track for a movie that age. Dialog audibility isn't always great, but to get the most dialogue you may have to chose the also available 1.0 track, but that's not gonna sound quite as cinematic. A standard 5.1 track is also available, and there's a French two channel track included as well. You can chose from English SDH, French or Spanish subtitles.
The picture quality on the 4K disc is really great as usual. While the color balance seemed off a few times (some bright reds looking almost neon etc.), for the most part it looks fascinating. Super crisp, great contrasts, very clean, an amazing restoration effort.
There is a number of good extras on this release. On the 4K disc there is a pair of audio commentaries. One with Bill Lustig and Larry Cohen, and the other with film historians Steve Mitchell (director of King Cohen) and Troy Howarth. Cohen's commentary is absolutely rich with information and anecdotes. You'll respect this movie even more knowing so much about it, from how they made it to the people involved in it, very impressive and of course also entertaining commentary. Steve and Troy's commentary is the nerdy equivalent to it. Steve is of course the authority on Cohen's movies and Troy's commentaries are always great too, so this commentary is of course flush with trivia and stories. In short, both audio commentaries are absolutely worth your time and then some. Then there is a trailer and five TV spots. These illustrate why I am saying it over-promises and under-delivers, all the sensationalist stuff is in these trailers. There is also a trailer and two TV spots with the alternate title "Demon", similar but with a different title of course.
On the regular BluRay you'll find an additional set of featurettes. There is a 12 minute interview with Tony Lo Bianco, a 9 minute one with SFX artist Steve Neill and a 21 min Q and A with Larry Cohen filmed at Tarantino's New Beverly, as well as one lasting 8 minutes filmed at the Lincoln Center. These are all quite interesting, just once you're past the audio commentaries, there isn't all that much more, but I enjoyed the interview with Lo Bianco. Lastly there is also a poster and stills gallery.
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