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Lord of Illusions

Lord of Illusions

What he said:

He

It was Halloween day and I took off from work because I was in the mood to enjoy the holiday. I ended up watching several episodes of The Walking Dead: Season 3 and this movie after that. I had seen this playing on Encore, but never caught more than a few minutes of it. I was in the mood for something genuinely scary and knew this was made by the same guy who wrote and directed Hellraiser (Clive Barker). Plus, I always kind of liked Scott Bakula, so I figured I’d check it out.

The movie opens up in the middle of the Mojave Desert in the early 80s. A group of cult members – in all their crazy glory – are about the up the ante from their previous hijinks. They have recently kidnapped a young girl and are about to sacrifice her in honor of their leader; a guy named Nix (Daniel von Bargen). Nix seems to have legitimately tapped into some dark powers. Dude has skills and he intends to use them to kill the girl as a sacrifice to whatever evil it is that gave him his powers. His band of crazies seems totally cool with this, except for a few party crashers.

Lord of Illusions
That looks painful.

Led by a guy named Swann (Kevin O’Conner), a small group infiltrates the cult’s hangout and puts a stop his madness. The group is made up of a bunch of former followers who simply thought he took it too far. They shared an interest in the occult, but thought killing an innocent was a tad dramatic. It wasn’t easy, but they eventually take him down – which involves binding his face in an iron mask – and bury his body in the desert.

Fast-forward to the present day and Swann is now a successful illusionist. What his audience doesn’t know is he’s using real magic he learned from his days as a cult underling. He is also married to the girl he rescued many years before (now played by Famke Janssen). They are a seemingly happy and successful couple, until one of the other people who helped Swann rescue Dorothea (Janssen) has been killed. This prompts them to look into the situation.

This is where detective Harry D’Amour (Bakula) comes into play. Harry is a private investigator from NY who has recently found himself transplanted to LA because of a new case. The guy he’s investigating crosses paths the guy former cult member – who helped rescue Dorothea – who recently turned up dead. This gets Swann and Dorothea to noticeHarry, so they hire him. That coupled with the fact that he has a reputation for looking into cases that deal with the occult. One thing leads to another and before he knows it Harry is being chased guys with fangs and other generally disturbing people. These people seem to be behind the murders and also believe Nix is resurrecting very soon.

Lord of Illusions

Aside from a scene or two with some lame special effects, I really enjoyed this movie. I thought it was a nice mix or horror and film noir. The blend of the two was really working for me. It mixed the two very nicely. It was a little overacted at times, but for the roles they were playing it worked. I kind of enjoy the sheer lunacy that Nix and his followers showed. I thought the cast did a nice job as well. I usually enjoy Scott Bakula and did in this as well. Famke Janssen was also entertaining as the damsel in distress. Kevin O’Connor was entertaining as the mysterious, but tortured soul who was stuck in between hating the world he was involved in and profiting from it. I’ve mostly seen Daniel von Bargen in comedies (Seinfeld and Malcom in the Middle), but thought he played this more serious role just fine. I liked the way this movie unfolded and I think it had a nice mix of crime drama, horror, action, and romance. An entertaining movie if you’re in the mood for that kind of thing.

Prognosis: Thumbs up.