Closer to God (2014) Poster


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My Review Of "Closer To God"
ASouthernHorrorFan17 June 2015
First off let me say that this is not "Splice" or "Splice-like" for any sci-fi, horror fans expecting that kind of movie experience. This film is a more down-to-earth, loose representation of what an event like "a cloned child done secretly then leaked out" would be like, how it would be received by society. "Closer To God" is more of a dark drama with horror affectations.

The film is directed by Billy Senese who tells a very emotional, long-drawn out, story with a real heartfelt approach to the human experience surrounding such an event as "Closer To God" explores. Cloning a successful human, then expanding the science of possibilities while protecting the material and the child. Compound that with the social repercussions, religiosity and naturalistic outrage, and you have Senese's film's theme.

The cinematography and setting is dark and somber, offering a more emotionally disconnected approach to this dark character study with only slight moments of personality that leak in from the Scientist and host mother's point of view. The rest of the time we are "chaos rubber-neckers" watching from a distance as this train-wreck of scientific achievements unfolds. That doesn't mean that the film or story is without personality or emotion. "Closer To God" reeks of melodrama and emotion, the story is strong and the acting is so well done that a tense, connection develops between the audience that story develops.

The horror aspect is minor and you have to hold on for the duration of this slow-burn, melodrama to get to that horror portion. It may not be worth it to die hard horror fans, or people going into the film wanting high energy thrills and chills. "Closer To God" keeps with a somber, macabre, almost haunting atmosphere, like watching a wake or or funeral, but only if the Westboro Church was outside, or the dead person was a mass-murder and also one of your closest relatives. That is the human connection I got once I became invested in these characters and this dark, sci-fi story. The effects are spot on but there isn't a lot of attention or sensationalism offered to those moments.

Overall I have to say that, as a dark drama, "Closer To God" is an intense, emotional story that is captivating. As a horror film or a "Frankenstein" styled film, I never really got that aspect. I say some aspect at the end, but it was so underdeveloped or poorly highlighted, that it doesn't really count. I think for people that have a pace of film that they like similar to "Stoker" or "Birth" , then "Closer To God" will be your speed. For more action, suspense, horror film fans-skip it because your just gonna get bored. I personally enjoyed the story and subject matter, I love any film that explores cloning! I say we go there and get it done-let the nightmarish consequences unfold!
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A moderate, modern Frankenstein
Lowbacca197726 April 2014
Closer to God is a modern revamp of Frankenstein, and it somewhat straddles the genres of science-fiction and horror, or at least tries to. While there's a large attempt of things that seem scientific, I really feel like that area was so underdeveloped that I just didn't find that at all convincing, even for suspending disbelief for the purposes of a film. It's what comes of a film trying to make some pretty broad claims about science without really exploring or addressing them. The horror film aspect of it has its moments, and while I think it did a very good job of building up tension, it really seemed to fall apart when it came time to cash in on that by being a bit blunt about it, after doing a fairly good job of building up the unease and mystery.

There certainly are some other interesting questions that are at least mentioned about what represents humanity and how cloning factors in, and it acknowledges a lot of issues with the ethics, philosophy, and spirituality of cloning, but it doesn't really explore or discuss those issues much. It opens the door to them, and I do give it some credit for not pushing a particular answer to those questions, but I feel like more could have been fleshed out with them.

An overall slow pacing, I think it could've been made up for with stronger points, both conceptually and thematically, instead it fizzles out a bit at the end.
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Accomplished debut. Highly recommended.
horizon200823 July 2015
I didn't expect much going into this, but what I got treated to was a pure disturbing joy. Impeccably acted, and downbeat from start to finish, the tension builds and builds to a horrific finish. I have to say, that on the subject matter therein this will be the definitive movie for years to come. Its astounding too that this is a debut feature by this director, being an extremely mature piece of filmmaking. What you get here is a Cronenbergian nightmare, which deals with an issue we will all find ourselves confronted with at some point in the distant future. Science and religion collide, but the very end of the movie leaves us with a piece of dialogue concerning just how much we might need to put our personal morals aside for the future of our species. This is easily one of the best horror movies I've seen this year, but if you're a horror fan who thinks that the genre must always be silly slashers and guts and gore then maybe you should go back to your Jason and Michael DVDs. This movie will play well to all lovers of great cinema however.
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Cloning and the consequences. Perhaps it creates sensation in some circles, but as a movie it's kind of weak.
peterp-450-29871627 September 2015
"This is just the beginning, isn't it ? …."

This being a kind of modern version of "Frankenstein", is the least you can say. Even the name of the doctor in question is identical with that of Frankenstein. The only difference with the classic movie is that new life isn't created by sewing together human body parts, but by making use of modern day technology. Cloning a human being is the central topic in this low-budget sci-fi horror. Don't expect an alien looking creature as in "Splice". This cloned human being looks perfectly normal and healthy.

It's not extremely creepy and intense at all. It's the aspect of cloning and the controversy arising on this subject which are developed the most. The fuss, the media attention and the protest groups who are opposed to these practices and consider this more as a blasphemy than scientific progress, demand the most attention. The angry mob at the immense gate of Dr. Reed's residence, is more terrifying than the additional secret that Victor is hiding on his domain. The movie fades from hight-tech SF to social drama. And ultimately it ends as a kind of psychopathic slasher. At first this surprises you, but eventually it looks rather routinely and not really innovative.

What remains is a not so original low-budget monster story, embellished with high-tech-looking situations. A highly motivated geneticist who puts more energy into his work than in his family life, resulting in a wife who feels abandoned. The secret that painstakingly is separated from the outside world, is hidden from sight for a considerable time or displayed as a hazy shape in the background. It felt like an attempt to keep the suspense alive and postpone the disclosure as long as possible.

Perhaps there should be restrictions and guidelines when it comes to cloning, so that we don't end up with an uncontrollable process where superior specimen are being created. Or an illegal trade is being initiated, producing organs on demand. That a religious aspect also comes with it, is quite evident. Though it's more of a dogmatic religious plea that no one should acquire the authority to create something. God has the exclusive rights for that, so they say. But then one must be able to admit that there are also advantages. Improving the quality of human life and removing those terrible diseases from the world. And there are also disadvantages. What to do with the failures ? And who's going to pass judgment on that matter ? This diversity of views is the heart and essence of this rather modest SF horror story.

The whole movie feels like a creation out of the 70's. The decor and presentation, the style of interactions, the overall atmosphere and the meager horror elements. Eventually, it all feels like a typical movie that you can see on Syfy. In the 80s it would fit in between "The Entity" and "Critters" during a VHS marathon at the weekend. The only similarity between Jeremy Childs and the Frankenstein monster, is his imposing stature. A walking wardrobe with a facial expression that shows no emotion. Not even while handling the cloned baby. It's all done on automatic pilot without much feelings. The subject of this movie and the reaction of the community comes across as being weighty. However, the film on itself, is nothing but a lightweight.

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Best Film of the Year
bostianb3 July 2015
Absolutely loved this film! This modern, smart interpretation of Frankenstein pushes the boundaries of real-world bioethics and ramifications of human cloning. Closer to God asks what would happen if we could improve our gene pool, making people smarter, stronger, better. What begins as an innocent enough measure of pushing the boundaries of science turns into an moral and ethical controversy fraught with suspension. Of course, the aftermath is explosive as one doctor pushes the science further than he is capable of handling. This film will have you on the edge of your seat as it heads towards the suspenseful conclusion. Seeing classic works revamped for modern audiences is always appreciated, and Mr. Senese's work would make Mary Shelley proud. Very impressive and well-done!
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Stupid people do stupid things
phenomynouss27 May 2018
Indeed this movie looks and feels low budget, no matter how they try to cover it in a thick veneer of gray and darkness, but that is not this movie's biggest flaw.

The clinical tone of the film drew me in instantly, with the implication that the "first ever successfully cloned human", Elizabeth, may have some problems before it can be presented to the public. Unfortunately, this is about as far as the movie goes with its actual plot.

The entire rest of the film consists of swarms of ugly Christian fanatics crying and whining about how the doctor is EVIL and the child is EVIL because GOD and JESUS. This takes up about 70% of the entire movie. Whether you agree with their idiotic views or not, the way it's strawmanned and put on display here is done with a clear sense of repugnance towards these people, allowing them to swallow up the full scope of the topic at hand while allowing for pretty much nothing else.

Arguably it may be a realistic depiction of an ignorant, paranoid, anti-science bunch of people reacting with ugly violence to the unknown, but not only is this done to the detriment of the movie's pacing and overall storytelling, but it also doesn't advance beyond that.

We see the anti-cloning Christian protestors, and they're anti-cloning and Christian, and that's literally it. They play no further role other than to be front and center for more than half the movie, while contributing nothing except being a nuisance to the doctor.

Meanwhile, an even more interesting story is unfolding inside the doctor's house, with the subtle, never once explicitly stated implication that Elizabeth may not be the "first" cloned human. This branch of the film's story is completely smothered by the Ugly Americans Christian Protest footage that sucks the oxygen out of everything else in the film.

Literally every aspect of this film suffers because so much time and attention is devoted to showing these Christian protestors and showing them in as ugly, vulgar, and violent a way as possible, with one bald idiot in particular breaking down sobbing incessantly while squealing "SHE DOESNT HAVE A SOUL! YOU DONT HAVE A SOUL!" in front of the doctor's house, before trying to attack a police officer. The main character of the doctor is one who comes across as being somewhat flat and affect-less, yet as the other plot gradually unfolds, he suddenly becomes highly intriguing as we see him show actual emotion and lose self control at one point towards the end. He gets very little else in terms of character development beyond that.

The wife's story, with their kids, and the odd (nonsexual) homelife they have with two other people is one which doesn't need any further elaboration or exploration, but would at least warrant some additional time to see things through the wife's eyes more, rather than having her be just a token housewife who complains about the doctor working too much.

There was a solid core of a good, suspenseful sci-fi thriller, with a near perfect tone of clinical detachment and a lack of explaining every little detail to the audience that could've put this in the same type of genre as "Primer", but more than half this film was devoted to being some sort of "Two Minute Hate" spiel against anti-science Christians that ends up swallowing up the whole movie.
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Good intentions
kosmasp1 November 2020
Just like the mad man .. sorry I mean our main character in this, the movie itself has very good intentions. I would even aargue that some of the ideas are worth exploring or make the movie even interesting. Not just the premise of the movie. But not just because of the small budget of the movie, but also because it tries and muddles many things together, it probably does not achieve being really good in any of them.

So many at least interesting ideas, but a great whole. Certain things almost feel lackluster too. The effects are good and if you don't mind the "let's keep it dark, because we are low budget and can't afford too many special effects" approach, there are some nice things here. The end is ... well predictable, but also I guess in tone with what this is closest (Frankenstein is not mentioned just in passing).

What you make of this morally will be up to you. It does raise some questions, but I'm not sure if it does them justice ...
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MOST low budget film I've ever seen!!
jaylynncar23 August 2015
I can't believe someone actually spent money on this low budget movie! Where do I begin? The idea probably started off well, but it was a train wreck from start to finish. BAD acting, horrible script, you could barely hear what they say in certain parts of the movie, the lighting was bad, half the time I thought "HUH"??? Because the stories didn't come together, you felt as if you fell asleep for 15 minutes and missed part of it. I actually laughed out loud because I couldn't believe HOW stupid it was! I guess I'm the stupid one for watching the whole thing!

And for the few people who gave this movie 8-10 stars? PLEASE! We're on to you - you obviously have ties to the movie.
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Much better than expected
nacblackwell18 August 2018
A surprisingly good film. Well structured story line and tense throughout. Thought provoking in parts and genuinely horrifying in others. Acting was well delivered with no cheesy moments that so often happens with horror. Far above average flick.
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I liked it
wildblueyonder17 April 2017
Not sure what the 'bad production' 'low budget' comments are about. I thought it was a well shot, well acted movie, an interesting premise, overall a solid 7...

I always enjoy a movie that has some social commentary, and this one seems to give a few viewpoints and some believable depictions of human behavior.
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Interesting plot, but missing some key parts
gpoposki13 September 2016
It's quite a shame, that such a good story was rushed and unfinished.

At the start of the movie, you're thrown into this expecting a random jump scare at any moment, because this is a horror movie, apparently.

The story was amazing and original, but quite a shame it was really rushed. The movie felt too short, in the way that the ending felt rushed, but got the story across within the designated time-frame. The acting was amazing, they really added to the dark atmosphere of the whole movie, and your left on watch, because of that.

Not really that scary, but i admit. I went "NOPE, NOPE, NOPE" at a certain scene.

An interesting story, that is not really a "horror", but some kind of deep dark atmosphere type of movie. If you like this sort of creepy, morbid, dark, satanic type of film, than its worth a watch, i guess?
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Cold this really happen?
glennspillman25 February 2017
Well, first off, let me just say that when making a movie, could you please spend a little bit more on the special FX? This movie had potential, but it dragged on way way to long. I got bored with it because they spent way to much time on certain scenes. I did however like the story, something that actually could happen, and probably is happening somewhere in the world. I didn't really like the character of the doctor, he was a bit to robotic, and uncaring about his other "experiments." He didn't seem to care about anything or anyone but the baby. So, I couldn't really relate to him very much. The other secondary characters were a bit of a bore, especially the house maid. She was just down right lacking any sort of compassion towards her husband or the child that she was taking care of. The "Christians" in the protest crowd soon turned into the evil that they were protesting against, showing that hypocrisy is alive and well.
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