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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

I Don't Get It

Author: boneyard2000 from Fairhaven, MA
27 January 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've read quite a few good reviews on this movie and I just can't understand why. Now I know foreign horror films tend to have some very bad acting. (which this one does)And they pride themselves on being very atmospheric. (one of the few plusses with this movie) But why must they be so damn disjointed. It's like the editting is performed by someone having seizures. The movie is all over the place and totally incoherent. Maybe it's just me but most Italian horror flics seem to have the same problems. They make little sense. I bought this movie on sale and I was still robbed! SPOILER: The model airplane death scene has to be one of the lamest deaths I've ever witnessed! The old lady ought to be put in a home though the son was good for a few chuckles. The only really intense scene was the nun being killed by the scissors. And the ending.... doesn't exist!! What the hell is this movie about??? Terrible movie... avoid at any and all costs!!!

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

What about the story??

Author: doctor13 from Los Angeles, CA
3 December 2003

DESECRATION, frankly, is a mess of a movie. Lots of imagery that was intended to be disturbing, but it falls far short of the mark. Badly acted with hamhanded lighting, clumsy cinematography and poor production design all add up to a very amateurish-looking film. For example, I saw surprised to see the Kodak film logo on the end credits, as I was convinced the movie was shot on video, then given the Film Look process.

Yes, the movie tries to weird you out by presenting "disturbing" images (none of which disturbed me), but since the story was lacking and what little bit there was, was confusing, there is no tension, no suspense, and without those, disturbing images won't cut it. You don't care about these people, and without empathy for your characters, all the disturbing imagery in the world isn't going to make a difference.

This, as with Dante Tomaselli's second film HORROR, would have made perfect 7-minute student films.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Hmm what can I say

Author: paulgeaf from United Kingdom
12 January 2004

Firstly let me say that I am an avid Horror Fan. I collect and love lots of different horror movies from the Italian gore to the more psychological to the plain funny as in Evil Dead. Now, Desecration. What category does this fall into? It maybe has its own unique category. If so, It would be close to the bottom of the pile...where movies you will only ever watch once and still regret doing so, live. To describe the general gist of this movie is quite simple. forget unbelievable surrealism, forget cerebral and beautiful haunting imagery. Try 'a collection of stereotypical horror movie clichés that are thrown together without ANY real sense of structure, meaning and above all no message and no story is forthcoming'.

Even some of these people here praising the movie have admitted it seemed to be going nowhere at times or didn't make any sense. Of the other reviews there is one that stands out and praises this movie as if it is the best movie ever made.... It isn't hard to guess that the reviewer is a keen user of cannabis-Deduced by the nickname, If I am wrong shoot me! - and if I were to view this movie under the influence, I too would probably say 'Wow' 'amazing' 'freaky' etc etc etc. In the grim harshness of reality though (!?), this movie is a total TURKEY. If you are considering buying this warned, there are better things to spend your money on. Like a new Can opener or something. If you want a cheap alternative to this movie, get a collection of older movie trailers, put them on back to back so it lasts an hour or so, then sit and watch it whilst flicking different coloured lights on and off now and then with some old led Zep or pink floyd music on in the background- playing backwards of course. 0 out of 10

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic visuals… but lacks a coherent story

Author: TelevisionJunkie from Texas
11 January 2006

Tomaselli obviously has a flair for creating eye candy. Although a few of the effects in this film are hokey and ultra-low-budget (the model plane, the scissors), the majority of the visuals are fantastic – reminiscent of many Euro-shockers and the first "Evil Dead." However, what the film lacks is a coherent story. I'm not a moviegoer who needs everything spelled out – "Black Christmas," for example, was creepy because we barely see the killer, let alone find out his motivation. "Donnie Darko" remains an enigma even to the writer/director. "Burnt Offerings" leaves you to decide exactly what happened in the house. But at least the aforementioned have some sense of logic.

The principle story here is about a boy who's dragged to Hell by his dead mother as she attempts to escape. Or so they say. However, nothing that happens within the film justifies that plot line – and it all completely lacks logic. If Tomaselli had ended the film in the traditional Hollywood "it was all a dream" way, perhaps I could forgive the film for lacking sense. As is, it feels like an overlong student film.

The acting is horrendous all around, with the exception of the boy who plays Bobby. The old lady (who can't act, but I've seen in a slew of films) is annoying and, unfortunately, has the dominant part. The few male actors all sound like they're reading off cue cards, and then there's the nuns – but if you can't say something nice….

The DVD ends with an "excerpt from the original short film" on which this movie was based. I don't understand why it's not the complete film (the provided scene is exceptional) nor is there a commentary or any other extras. Enigmatic films such as this ALWAYS benefit from commentaries.

Those seeking something out of the norm might enjoy this, as well as stoner horror buffs. All others, avoid it.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

An effectively unsettling, surreal, hallucinatory, and imaginative experience

Author: hippiedj from Palm Desert, California
28 September 2001

I stumbled across Desecration quite by accident, finding the cover artwork captivating. The four paintings of a nun takes on a Lovecraftian feel and the viewer should get a good idea that the horror film contained inside will be more of a cerebral experience than a direct Hollywood one. I liked that clue, because I was in a mindset to see something very different. I wasn't disappointed!

There are so many words that went through my mind watching this tale of a boy struggling to figure out what is happening around him at a catholic school and the accidental death of a nun: Unsettling, surreal, hallucinatory, atmospheric, disturbing, eerie....words that wound up being on the DVDs back cover in quotes and film summary! (I never read the summaries or critical quotes before a viewing so I can come up with my own idea of the film first) One thing is for sure, the viewer will be left with a deep sense of unease. I found myself sitting back for a while, thinking some of the opening was a bit low budget (fog and mist tends to come from a specific point off camera), then part of the way through I was sitting up, then leaning forward by the end of the film, entranced.

There are no direct answers to the story, as Bobby and even his grandmother find that they cannot do much about the supernatural goings-on since they are not sure what is real or not. This is apparent as the grandmother asks a couple times "What do I do NOW?...." but the occurrences seem to throw her off every time. Bobby can't tell if he is dreaming half the time and winds up running away, only to be faced at every turn by a nun that has the most creepy expression. Be careful to take a good look at the nun who is accidentally killed in the film's opening...she seems to have an eerie resemblance to Bobby's dead mother. A scene where Bobby's father and grandmother pass the nun on a road really creeped me out!

Writer/director Dante Tomaselli seemed to have a lot going on creatively for the film's story and visuals. What the film may lack technically because of budget limitations it more than makes up for in ambition and style. Much of the film could easily be made into stills that would hold up on their own as bizarre paintings--the sequence in which earth and plants take over Bobby's room seem to be inspired by Dali (who's name appears in the thank-you's in the end credits). The use of clowns together with nuns as horrifying creatures is a wonderful blend.

The creative process for Desecration is one I'd love to learn more about, as Tomaselli thanks people such as Marc Almond, Ric Ocasek, Laurie Anderson, Martin Gore, and Dario Argento in the credits. One big mention in the opening credits is a "special thanks to Alfred Sole," director of Alice, Sweet Alice (aka Communion). After watching Desecration I was hungry to find out how these artists influenced Tomaselli.

This is definitely not an easy film to experience. The story keeps jumping from one weird scene to another and the ending just APPEARS right when you think something might happen to explain more. All I can gather is that when someone wants to get out of Hell that person will do practically anything! This is not standard horror fare for people looking for cheap and fast thrills, it's a psychological challenge and worth the 88-minute hold it will have on you!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

good first time effort

Author: hauntedwoods from United States
10 May 2005

anyone who got stuck in and suppressed in Catholic or boarding school will squirm at this.. while I wish he got a decent/bigger budget for the film, the director makes some interesting points about the dangers of repression, the equally liberating and damning aspects of religion, (it's about the dark side of religion, while not really an all-out slam on Catholicism) and how abuse comes back to (literally) haunt oneself. The sound is awesome, this could really use a soundtrack, much better than general indie scores. Is that all Jersey woods? Vincent Lamberti is creepy as a priest with too many secrets, and those who want clearcut answers to their basic stories may be disappointed. But it's got a neat dream-logic that will either make you nervous or just baffle you.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Visual Nightmarish Decent into Hell

Author: spacemonkey_fg from Puerto Rico
23 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Title: Desecration (1999)

Director: Dante Tomaselli

Cast: Danny Lopes, Christie Sanford, Irma St. Paule, Vincent Lamberti Review: This was Dante Tomasellis first directorial effort. And like many directors on their first film, they either show some promise and go on to become great directors...or they fall flat on their ass and disappear into oblivion. I'm thinking that Tomasellis one of the promising ones.

The story is about a 15 year old kid called Bobby Rullo who is played by Danny Lopes in his first starring role. He is assisting St. Anthonys Catholic School and one day as he is playing with his remote controlled air plane, he kills a nun by accident. Bobby didn't know it, but the nun he killed was an evil nun even in life. And when she was killed by Bobbys remote controlled airplane, she went straight to deepest bowels of hell. Now she wants out, and she intends to use Bobby to do it.

Thats the basic plot of the film. The film does go into surreal dreamlike territory so be ready for a film that doesn't necessarily spell things out for you. Like Bobbys grandmother mentions at one point in the film "its a puzzle!" Though I don't think it was as hard to grasp as some people say.

I'm a big fan of supernatural horror movies and it seems that this is just the type of horror film that Tomaselli is specializing in making. I had already seen his second film HORROR and loved it. It was heavy on its supernatural themes as well, so I dug it lots. So I just knew that I had to see his previous film. I was expecting Desecration to maybe be a little less good since it was his first film, but boy was I wrong. Desecration was fantastic! Let me go on detailing why.

Tomaselli is obviously a very visual director. He is keen to showing striking nightmarish images that will stick in your mind long after you've seen the movie. There's many instances like that in Desecration. The nun who terrorizes Bobby and his grandmother all through out the film is one striking image all on its own. She appears quite a few times in the movie, sometimes faceless, sometimes extremely demonic....she gave me the willies. One particular image of her coming in through the gates of St. Anthonys Catholic school was very very spooky. So be on the look out for that.

There's one moment that has to go down in the horror books for all eternity and its the scene with the flying scissors killing the nun. I freaking loved that scene! Things flying in the air all by themselves give me the hibby these flying scissors really did it for me. There's many more memorable sequences like that all through out the film.

Now, keep in mind that this is in fact a low budget flick (budget was around the vicinity of $150,000) so don't be expecting a big Hollywood film. This is a low budget flick that shows that you don't need kajillions of dollars to make a good flick. In fact I enjoyed Desecration more then any of the crap coming out in theaters recently (Boogyman and Darkness Falls I'm looking at you!) It may have some limitations on money...but not on creativity.

Speaking of creativity, my hats down to Tomaselli for making the score and sound effects so creepy. Like Carpenter, Tomaselli scores his own films. And its pretty obvious he pays much attention to this part of the filmaking process. I loved all the different sound effects all through out the film. The crying babies, the scary maniacal laughter, the wind blowing...just little details that add a whole lot of atmosphere and horror to the proceedings.

The only thing I didn't like was the abrupt ending. It just suddenly ends...and your left feeling like WHAT? Thats it? I guess I really didn't want the movie to finish since I was enjoying it so much, but I guess Tomaselli opted to go with a Argento/Fulci ending, where you are left with a big question mark in your head...clever way to make you think about the movie after its finished now that I think about it.

Also the sequence where the nun gets hit by a plane, in my opinion could have been pulled off slightly better. It didn't feel authentic. In my opinion that sequence was meant to be the first big shock in the film, but it turns out a bit funny instead because it didn't look like thats the way it would have happened in real life. But thats just a minor imperfection in an other wise great film.

I'm a big fan of independent horror cinema. Why? Cause it shows all you really need is imagination, creativity and drive to make something special. And its obvious that Dante Tomaselli has plenty of those traits. Tomaselli demonstrated with Desecration and Horror that he is more then capable of making some damn fine horror films, and I got a feeling that as time goes by and Tomasellis recognition as a horror director grows his films will only get better and better. I'm really looking forward to his newest flick being released soon by Anchor Bay Entertainment called "Satans Playground".

Rating: 4 out of 5

P.S. I really wished that this DVD had a audio commentary with Tomasellis insights on the making of it. Half of the enjoyment of watching HORROR was Tomasellis comments on what went on behind the scenes. Too bad there is no audio commentary on this DVD version of Desecration. Maybe on a future version?

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not a bad little horror film

Author: Katatonia from Missouri
30 January 2003

Very strange imagery is used throughout this film, the scenes with ghostly nuns and clowns will disturb a lot of viewers. It reminded me of a low-budget version of Dario Argento's Suspiria, and the writer/producer/director thanks Argento in the end credits so it most likely was influenced by that 70's horror classic.

I wasn't very into the film in it's first twenty minutes or so, i found it really slow and it didn't seem that the story was truly going anywhere. The rest of the film takes off and becomes more bizarre with each passing minute. The unique camera angles and techniques are quite effective and add a little more than usual to this low-budget film. Just don't go into it expecting a large budget horror flick, otherwise you'll be disappointed.

The acting is a mixed bag, some of the actors did a really good job. However, some had flat performances but this didn't really take away from the overall experience.

I wouldn't say this movie really creeped me out personally (very few horror films do and i do love the genre). It does contain a very dark and brooding atmosphere throughout, plus the dark music score is quite well done. The film also leaves you thinking about what the story truly means, long after the movie has ended.

Definitely above average for a horror film and i would give it a rating of 8 out of 10.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A horror master in the making?

Author: Pearce Duncan from Wellington, New Zealand
1 July 2003

Dante Tomaselli's first movie, Desecration, is far from perfect: the acting and dialogue is terrible, the story is vague, there are some silly ideas, and there's a cheap look to some of it.

However, in terms of atmosphere and imagery and outright fear, it's a winner. It took me a little while to get into it, but once I was it had an almost unbearable creep-out factor. If Tomaselli had abandoned the story altogether and made a totally abstract piece of surrealism, it might have been a total success. As it is, it's still one of the scariest horror movies of the last few years.

I can't wait to see Tomaselli's second movie, Horror. He has the potential to become the most exciting young horror filmmaker around. If he can adapt his style to fit a more mainstream storytelling sense he may become huge. If he descends further into surrealism he'll almost certainly end up a cult favourite. Either way, he seems to be someone with a unique and compelling vision, which horror has been missing for too long. Bravo!

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Tomaselli's debut

Author: Graveyard Reviews from United States
28 March 2015

Debut film from Dante Tomaselli gives us a nice little campy atmospheric horror film but other than that there's not much to say about this film. It's good, but not great. There are some very creepy standout scenes that stick in your mind for awhile, but there's nothing really special about this film that would make me rave about it. The negative reviews say that Desecration is lousy and very bad well I've seen a lot worse so don't be discouraged out of seeing this film it's still a decent effort by a then rookie director. Horror buffs out there that like hypnotic creepy horror films that make no sense like this should be/will be pleased with the effort. 6/10

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