Review: DAMNED ON EARTH

dvd_cover_eglishReligious themed art tend to fall into more dramatic categories. In recent years, religiously driven films with provocative titles like GOD’S NOT DEAD (soon to be followed by a recently announced sequel starring Clarissa herself, Melissa Joan Hart) and SON OF GOD have been released and have proven to be commercial success stories that show audiences are open to pay for what could possibly be controversial religious material. SON OF GOD, an adaptation of the miniseries THE BIBLE for those not patient enough to watch 10 hours, tells the PG-13 version of the life of Jesus. GOD’S NOT DEAD has Kevin Sorbo being challenged by his atheist beliefs (or lack of?) when religion in the classroom comes into play. These films hit the mainstream and provided an alternative option for families who want to present their children to religious material, but maybe not feel too comfortable with Mel Gibson’s graphic portrayal he displayed in PASSION OF THE CHRIST.

And then there’s Ralf Kemper’s DAMNED ON EARTH: a story of good versus evil, in a universe where hell has literally lost its fire and Jesus is too busy getting laid to care. With Jesus acting like a spoiled rich kid that is often seen on popular cable reality shows, his lack of empathy in creating a balance in society forces the henchmen of Lucifer to step foot on Earth to save humanity from a psychotic demon.  These henchmen range from the nymphomaniac Samsaveel to the formal PULP PICTION like Amon, who is probably the most normal character in the movie. The characters almost come off as some sort of social commentary on generation gaps and how hard work has fallen into the background for today’s youth. While Amon is busy trying to figure out the next step, the seemingly younger Samsaveel is preoccupied with getting off. Maybe Samseeval and Jesus have a little too much in common that they care to acknowledge?

Each character is introduced with satirical title cards, with animated personalities that spit out lines begging to be tweeted. The representations of heaven and hell take an alternate direction to what is typically seen in religious themed movies. Jesus’s antics rise up from the pages of weekly gossip magazines and is fun to watch (his title card states: “mission: nothing particular”). Scantily clad women sporting jean skirts flood the screen, sex crazed demons and gods, and a billowing vagina that you enter to switch realms should all help DAMNED ON EARTH find its audience. Kemper’s film makes it refreshing to see a religious themed title that’s able to poke fun and got take itself too seriously. Taking a biting trajectory in a crazy excursion of a movie is one of DAMNED ON EARTH’s strongest attributes and will hopefully be utilized in the film’s marketing strategy.

DAMNED ON EARTH is released on demand and might not make headlines like SON OF GOD or GOD’S NOT DEAD, but provides a proxy to those films and is recommended for those fascinated by Heaven versus Hell as it’s showcased in a way I haven’t seen before.

Damned On Earth from Spontitotalfilm on Vimeo.