Red Letters (2019)

Director: Jim Klock
Starring:Jim Klock, Mike Capozzi, Chad Ridgely .USA. 1h 26m

This is quite a tidy moody piece of theology noir, as two investigators embark on a spiritual journey while searching for a missing police officer.

After watching the officer pass through a door while answering an emergency call he’s never seen again and his distraught wife asks for additional help to find him. Jim and Mike answer the call, each at different ends of the spectrum of religious belief, although Mike, while pious, had the remarkable skill of being highly psychic, and is reluctant to take this particular job but goes along to help his bestest bud.

The little town warmly welcomes to the two officers, who find a lot of worrying clues along the way, the strange footage, a satanic bible in the home of a highly religious grieving wife and with many mixed messages from the dead, god and the devil it’s going to take a lot of faith and searching to get to the bottom of this mystery.

There’s a lot you’ll need to take at face value in Red Letters, it has a large chunk of religious fact, the title for example, refers to the words of Jesus which, in the bible, appear in red. it’s a great little fact but it doesn’t buy into some Davinci Code cipher or anything technically interesting.

The characters just cling onto believable but you’ll see the evil characters a mile off, lurking in the corners, smirking and giving themselves up in their doublespeak and off key behaviour. When the grieving wife is confronted as to why, a deeply religious woman would have a copy of the Satanic Bible in her house, she turns the tears off and tells the PI to shove his judgmental attitude up his ass.. not very christian of her… tut tut…

Tougher the PI’s do eventually make a winning team, the more seasoned religious/psychic had tried and tested methods of doing everything and often has to face off with his long time friend, the flighty ex cop who’s desperate to catch the bad guy/s and doesn’t believe in the mumbo jumbo the world for him is incredibly black and white and he’s almost blinded to what supernatural entities might be at work around him.

At times it feels like Se7en but instead of the deadly sins being the driving force it’s all down to Old Nick, a name that gets thrown around a lot but what could all this have to do with a cop entering a building late at night and not being seen again?

Jim Klock’s very confident in front and behind the camera as he tries to tackle this maze of belief and cop thriller. At times it works, but blending the two needs more work, I don’t feel that everything really comes together as it could have and had more questions at the end than the beginning, but the movie flows well, it’s sloppy at times, a bit wooden and the pacing stumbles even at it’s incredibly slow pace. I like that the effects are more real than CGI, I don’t think the budget would stretch to make much of the generated effects payoff and enhance the movie in any way, and luckily the narrative allows the tough face off with darker forces come off in more of a spiritual than beatdown battle with the devil.

It’s definitely something refreshingly new, it just needed a bit more energy and enthusiasm, I feel that Jim Klock might be spreading himself too thin with so many projects but if he really dedicated himself to one thing then he has potential to really make it work..


Rating: 3/10

Related: Devil’s Advocate (1997), Se7en (1995), Angel Heart (1987)
Lists: Two Cops, Satanic Sinema
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