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by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor [April 1, 2022]





[]  Godforsaken follows a common horror found footage trope. A filmmaker by the name of Chad (played by Chad Tailor) shoots a documentary, which then spirals out of control as events get weirder and more dangerous.

Specifically, Chad witnesses Lisa (Melie B. Rondeau), a childhood friend, rise from her coffin during funeral mass. Churchgoers flee in panic. Lisa's mother hugs the feral Lisa, then recoils, wailing that she's "not my daughter!" whereupon Lisa flees into the Canadian snow.

Having thus found the subject for his next film Chad, returns with a small documentary crew (Katie Fleming as Katie and Domenic Derose as Dom; and still more actors play characters with the same first names). Chad intends to record the town's reaction to Lisa's resurrection and disappearance.

But Lisa soon returns, albeit still snarling and scowling and grimacing. (Never a good sign.) Instead of talking, she touches people. Whereupon they suddenly know or experience things. Some insist, after only a brief touch, that they'd "been away for a very long time."

Lisa also heals people.

People begin to worship Lisa as a god. One woman declares that Lisa is God. And as with any cult, Lisa has apparently promised that her followers can also rise from death and enjoy eternal life. But to rise from death you must first die. So Lisa's followers begin shooting each other and themselves. And arise they do -- as snarling zombies seeking to kill the last of the town's unbelievers.

That would be Chad and Katie and Dom.




There's little originality in Godforsaken. What begins as a fairly typical found footage film culminates with a small town zombie apocalypse. The acting is decent, though at times it crosses the line into scenery-chewing hysteria. You've seen it before. The protagonists are under attack. What the hell's going on?! I don't know! One of them is bitten. Oh my God! Oh fuck! Oh my God! He needs help! Oh fuck!

Even so, the film entertains. Most found footage films are abysmal because the style encourages lazy filmmaking. Directors let sloppy cinematography and padded storytelling slide because they think it creates a verite authenticity. Yes, Godforsaken's cinematography is rough. But the editing is well-paced, with mercifully little padding and empty chitchat.

Godforsaken also has some creepy, scary moments. Again, nothing too original. The usual obscure movements in the shadows, or sudden shocks. Godforsaken is forgettable, but enjoyable while it lasts.



Writer/director Ali Akbar Akbar Kamal was born in Afghanistan and is presumably Muslim, whereas Godforsaken has a Christian setting. (Chad's mother is a church minister who has a crisis of faith; she watches her congregates leave Christ to follow Lisa.) Yet Kamal has injected nothing distinctive into Godforsaken. It's a very generic Christian themed horror film, typical of the subgenre.

Kamal has said "Growing up in a religious community in the Middle East, I always had a fascination with other worldly beings. As a child I would often hear things like 'You will burn for eternity if you commit a sin' or 'You will go blind if you question God.' All of which struck terror in my heart. ... I wrote Godforsaken with that fear in mind. Our objective was to make a movie that touches on those feelings but most importantly I wanted to make something that was fun and exciting to watch."

Okay. Well, it was entertaining, so I guess he achieved his goal.


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