The Eighteenth Angel

Christopher McDonald stars in The Eighteenth Angel as the patriarch of an upper-middle-class family whose lives are interrupted when a clan of Satanic monks decides that McDonald's pretty young daughter (Rachel Leigh Cook) should become the new face of the Antichrist. Written by veteran hack David Seltzer (The Omen, The Prophecy, Bird On A Wire), The Eighteenth Angel illustrates, if nothing else, that Seltzer has spent a lot of time thinking about the numerous ways in which Satan's followers could bring about his return. Unfortunately, The Eighteenth Angel's mixture of the Satanic and the mundane results in a number of conceits and juxtapositions generally more silly than terrifying, such as the idea that Satan has a giant clock due to strike midnight upon his return. Likewise, it's difficult to be frightened by a Satanic being who apparently spends much of his time trying to lure teenage girls into high-pressure modeling careers. Horror films that deal with religious themes can be tremendously affecting, even when they're not particularly good, as the success of The Exorcist and The Omen has proven. The Eighteenth Angel never manages, however, to create the atmosphere of Old Testament dread that the material so desperately needs. McDonald is good, as is Stanley Tucci as Cook's godfather, but as far as Satanic thrillers go, The Eighteen Angel is strictly bottom of the barrel.

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