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The Four (2012)

The Four


The Four is the second film from Snowdog Studio in Pennsylvania (the first was the 2007 film Chasing Darkness).  Snowdog Studio is primarily Jason Hull with the help of a lot of his friends, which include Paul Gorman and Marie Madison of GMD Films, both of whom make brief appearances in The Four.  Jason not only directed and co-wrote The Four, but he also produced it, acted in it, and did a lot of the camera work.  In addition to all of that, there were some last minute problems with the original editor, so  Jason also learned how to edit in order to cut the film himself.  Regardless of the outcome, I have a lot of respect for any filmmaker who has the drive to wear all those different hats and complete the project despite numerous challenges.  With that said, he actually pulled it off, too!

The Four
 is a movie about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as bikers.  Although the premise sounds the same as the biker four horsemen in Neil Gaiman's book Good Omens or Image Comics' Darkness series, there are enough differences that this movie isn't really a rip-off of either previous work.  In this story, four bikers are possessed by the four horsemen and try to find a couple of religious artifacts that will allow them to bring on the apocalypse.  The artifacts are passed down from generation to generation by the Miller family and at this point, Mark Miller (played by Corey Kaloostian) is the guy who has to keep the artifacts away from The Four.  The plot follows the expected route: The Four show up looking for Miller, get a lead about where he might be, kill everyone in the room, move on to the next location and repeat until they eventually find Miller and have the big showdown. 

As with Good Omens, one of the Horsemen is a woman, but instead of being War, this time she's Famine (played by Angelina Leigh).  In several scenes, she kisses people to kill them.  I thought that would have made a lot more sense if she were Plague and gave them some kind of disease with the kiss.  It would also have worked if she had been Death and gave her victims "the kiss of death," but I can understand wanting to have the big guy play Death.  Regardless, I'm glad that they did do something to make her character stand out some from the other three.  For the most part, The Four Horsemen didn't seem to do much with their respective powers.  I think that developing each of the four characters would have made for a much more interesting story.  As it is, they're all pretty much the same bulletproof, super strong bad-asses who do a lot of killing.

Speaking of killing, there were several fight scenes in the movie.  Unfortunately, unlike Chasing Darkness, the fight scenes weren't very well choreographed.  This was made a bit more awkward by the bad acting of some of the minor characters who were in the movie pretty much just to be killed.  While watching the fight in the first location, I could just feel these guys waiting for their turn to start acting in the fight.  This scene was really the most amateur part of the film.  I do understand the situation.  On a film with essentially no budget, you work with whoever you can get.  Corey Kaloostian and three of the four horsemen did a respectable job with their acting and those were the main actors in the film.  Some of the minor characters were played by good actors as well.  In a movie like this, I honestly don't expect everyone involved to be an actual actor and most of the leads could hold there own in front of the camera.

The technical aspects of filming were average for this level of movie.  The audio had problems, but most of the problems were with inconsistent background noise from shot to shot and other relatively minor issues.  The dialog was audible through 99% of the movie.  Inaudible dialog is annoying as hell and far too common in no-budget movies, so 99% audible is pretty damn good for a movie at this level.  Considering that Mr. Hull learned to edit while cutting this movie, I think he did a good job with what he had.  I'm not a fan of low budget computer effects, but all things considered, I do think that they were used relatively well here in most cases.

As with all of the Pennsylvania independent movies that I've seen, there was a lot of music from a variety of different local bands in The Four.  I think I counted eight different artists in the credits and I'm pretty sure that the band Cheer Up Moon Cat alone had five songs.  The overall quality varied from song to song, but several of them were pretty good.  One of the bonus features on the DVD is a music video for a cover of the DEVO song "Uncontrollable Urge" done by the artist MOFRYKY.  MOFRYKY also has a small acting part in the movie.  Considering the number of songs, it's actually surprising that more often than not, they fit the mood of the movie pretty well.

In conclusion, The Four is pretty good for what it is: a no-budget movie made by a guy and his friends.  Although it's probably not going to win any awards, I've definitely seen worse.  I would imagine that the people who will enjoy it most are the guys who made it or were in some way involved, but if you like biker movies, grab a few beers and give this one a shot.

Gore-o-meter rating: 0.5 out of 5
(If you're looking for gore, look elsewhere)

Skin-o-meter: 1 out of 5 (One boob frame in the movie, but there's also a boobs Easter Egg)