Movie Review: Legion (2010)

My favorite genre, or perhaps second favorite, is religious horror. Essentially, those horror movies where people die but the bad guys are demons or something and the whole movie follows sort of Biblical plot. It’s the intersection between pointless violence and horror… I mean, pointless violence and the Bible (little joke there.)

The Omen(1976) was good. The Exorcist (1973). The Prophecy(1995).

Legion(2010), for the record, is certainly not a shameful entry into the genre, but it’s certainly not going to be the standard by any stretch of the imagination. It involves a supposed second “flood,” but this one, carried out by angels. An extermination of the human race. Unlike Noah, there is no family earmarked for repopulating the planet and this second destruction of the earth also coincides with the birth of child. This child, incidentally, makes no sense. Is he the second coming? Why would God destroy the earth moments before the second coming? Seems bizarre.

There are far less cool angel scenes and a lot of the violence is just trite, ordinary zombie-like violence. The whole world is being destroyed and our vision is limited to a few small miles of desert boredom – unsatisfying.

The movie does, however, make one interesting stab at Christian fundamentalism, whether they realize it not. The main good guy in the movie is the Archangel Michael and he has been ordered by God to lead the extermination of mankind and kill the child… whoever the child really is. Michael searches his conscience and refuses the order, instead joining the humans and protecting the child. You would have gotten that from the trailer so don’t be too mad!

Gabriel, the equally bronzed archangel who takes over after Michael’s departure, is less sensitive to sympathy but argues that following orders is what really matters. Obviously, sympathy wins over blind obedience in the end, but certain parallels to the story of Abraham and Isaac and the Nazis, of course, are somewhat transparent. Sometimes I can understand Abraham’s decisions; sometimes I can’t. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t kill Isaac, but would that be because I had placed sympathy over obedience as an act of courage or because generally I was scared shitless.

For my part, I’m glad that somewhere in cinema “God told me to do it” isn’t a good reason.

★★★☆☆ If you have the time, go have a little fun. But, if you miss it, you didn’t miss anything.