Sci-Fi London Film Festival: The Rizen: Possession

Those Bandages Aren't Good

Like the bandages worn by the attacking marauders in The Rizen, I’m torn about the movie. I’m torn because the idea is a good one, it’s the execution that I can’t quite wrap my head around.

Anyway, we join Frances, Harriet Madeley (“Dragonflies Only Live For 24 Hours“, “Walking David”), and her friends as they enter a long-abandoned military facility, just for kicks.

Soon after entering, Frances begins hearing strange music through the walls, then apparitions begin appearing and the group begin to enter deeper and deeper and things get stranger and stranger.

A little after the gang enter the facility, a group of mercenary soldiers also enter, sent on an extraction mission by The Suited Woman, Sally Phillips (“Pride And Prejudice And Zombies“, “Burn Burn Burn“).

Soon after entering they too begin to see things, having fire-fights with long-dead soldiers from the war.

As the original group and the soldiers begin to get picked off one-by-one, they continue deeper into the facility to try and find the radio room and get some help. They reach it, but find little.

Now, they just have to get back out. They need to get out quickly because this place, this facility, is putting memories into some of the remaining group, memories that aren’t theirs, memories about what has happened here previously.

The Rizen: Possession is, as I said earlier, a really nice idea. I’m hard pushed to classify the movie as a sci-fi, that only comes about in the last few minutes of the film and, whilst good, does feel a little tacked on.

No, I’d class the movie as horror, I think that much is obvious. It doesn’t suffer from a lot of the clichés that horror films tend to, but it does suffer from some computer game clichés.

That’s because at times watching The Rizen: Possession can feel like watching someone play a computer game. Characters enter rooms but the zombie (or whatever they are) stands in the corner muttering to itself until you move closer, or do something.

There’s even a section that feels like you’re just watched a cut-scene from a game, a scene in which you have no control over, it’s going to happen because you did that thing previously. And now your health is low so the screen is blacking out and things are fuzzy around the edges.

It’s an interesting touch, but together with everything else that’s going on the movie can feel like a jumble of ideas that, whilst not badly executed, together just feel like a jumble of ideas.

The cohesion isn’t quite there, things don’t quite click. And that’s a shame, because The Rizen: Possession has promise, it just needs to remove the bandages so we can all see it.

This article has been edited to remove the note about the 2017 film The Risen.

A group of young urban explorers and a private military unit could become the final pieces in a 60-year plan to reopen a door that should have stayed closed

22nd May 2019

Matt Mitchell

Matt Mitchell

Running Time:
1h 34 mins

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