Directed by Bill Corcoran [Other horror films: The Unquiet (2008), Vipers (2008), Death Warrior (2009)]
This Sci Fi film is one that I’ve seen before, and while I can’t much speak on my original impressions (mostly because the movie’s so forgettable, I barely remembered anything about it), I can say that Rise of the Gargoyles is spectacularly generic and uninspired.
I certainly think that the story had potential, to be fair, if only because there are so few gargoyle horror films out there (off the top of my head, three come to mind, being a movie I’ve not yet seen from 1991 titled Soul of the Demon, then one of the segments from Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, and lastly the 1972 TV movie Gargoyles), but even with that niche monster checked off, the movie didn’t work.
Why that was isn’t easy to pinpoint. Though certainly questionable at times, I don’t think the CGI was really that terrible (save for maybe a somewhat laughable decapitation in the first half of the film). The gargoyle itself was decent, though (perhaps luckily) we didn’t really see it in full, out of the shadows, all that often.
A larger culprit would probably be a combination of the story itself and the cast. The story was uninspiring, to be sure, and void of many interesting add-ons, but the cast was somehow worse. I think most of them knew what type of movie they were making, and that didn’t much endear themselves to strong performances. And in their defense, to be sure, stronger performances wouldn’t have done that much to improve the film.
I only know Eric Balfour from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and a very small appearance in The West Wing. Even so, Balfour consistently reminded me of other actors, be it Adrien Brody or (amazingly) Sylvester Stallone. He’s neither, though, and really felt off at times as the lead here. Other performances, such as those by Caroline Néron, Nick Mancuso, Justin Salinger, and Ifan Huw Dafydd, were similarly uninspired, with Dafydd doing the best (though still being a stereotypical untrusting foreign police detective).
Honestly, I don’t really think Rise of the Gargoyles warrants that much more discussion – certainly the movie’s not terrible, but especially given the fact it’s a gargoyle-based horror film, there’s virtually nothing about this one that really stands out, which is a damn shame.
On a slightly interesting endnote, presuming the dates I’m seeing are correct, this was probably one of the last original movies put out while Syfy was still Sci Fi (this was released June 21st, 2009 and the name change went into effect July 7th, 2009). It’s not a mind-blowing fact, but nor is this movie exceptional, so it fits in.
One could certainly do worse than Rise of the Gargoyles, but as stated, the film’s definitely sub-standard, and I really don’t think most who see this will find it overly memorable one way or the other.