Directed by Robert Resnikoff [Other horror films: N/A]
I knew next-to-nothing about this film before going in, so much so that, upon learning that Lou Diamond Phillips was starring, I was pleased that I’d have something to look forward to (I don’t even particularly know Phillips from much, but a familiar face is a familiar face). It’s good that it did, because while The First Power started out reasonably strong, it sort of fizzled out halfway through.
The film does have it’s moments. For instance, the opening, when the Pentagram Killer (Jeff Kober) is attacking a female police officer, or that scene when a guy gets trampled to death by a horse, or even those after-effects of that one kill, with the body hanging in the sky. The First Power isn’t a movie without promise – I just think the promise failed to fully pan out.
Story-wise, it was interesting enough. Having a psychic help an atheistic officer feels a little bit stereotypical, but Phillips worked well with Tracy Griffith, so I don’t think it came out too poorly. Where the film starts to lose me, though, is when the nun (Elizabeth Arlen) joins in on the fun, especially because I don’t think Arlen was given much of a character to work with.
Lou Diamond Phillips (who I mainly know from the CBS show Numb3rs, of all places, where he was a character that popped up here and there) was decent in his role, and I don’t usually see him looking this young. Tracy Griffith was good – she had a serious, yet occasionally playful personality, and I thought her performance was actually better than I expected.
Jeff Kober was okay as the Pentagram Killer. I didn’t think he was great – I would have preferred a more serious Satanist as opposed to a killer concerned purely with screwing with someone, but to each their own. I enjoyed Mykelti Williamson, and sort of wish he appeared a bit more. Like I said before, Elizabeth Arlen’s character didn’t cut it for me, but as usual, that’s more on the script than on the actress.
I think the film has a bit of a TV feel to it. That’s not necessarily a negative, of course – there are plenty of fantastic made-for-television horror films (such as The Norliss Tapes from 1973), but for a movie like this, I think it can be a bit of a problem. It’s not as though there were any big special effect screw-ups or anything, but the vibe didn’t strike me as wholly worth theatrical release.
The First Power was a better movie than expected (even though I didn’t know much about the movie, my expectations for 90’s horror isn’t generally that high), and it certainly has it’s place (and it’s fans, as the film, at the time of this writing, sports a 5.7/10 on IMDb), but I think that it started strong and ended weak, at least with this first-time viewing.
The First Power is one of the films we’ve covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this film, if it tickles your fancy.