Should You Heed “The Warning” ?

Posted: December 11, 2016 in movies
Tags: , , , , , , ,


My recent forays into the depths of Amazon Prime’s streaming horror queue have yielded some interesting results — indeed, on the whole I’m ready to feel reasonably optimistic about so-called “micro-budget” genre filmmaking again — but then along comes something that not only confirms, but unquestionably amplifies, everything that all the nay-sayers who don’t even bother with this sort of thing assume to be true : the acting is laughably bad, the script is loaded with cringe-worthy dialogue, the plot is hopelessly redundant and unoriginal, the low-rent production values are embarrassingly amateurish, yadda yadda etc. etc. It is, therefore, my distinct displeasure to present perhaps the — errrmmm — finest example of all these frequent criticisms writ large that I have yet some across, director Dirk Hagen’s 2015 atrocity The Warning.


Honestly, the word “bad” seems too simple — and frankly too kind — to describe what’s on offer here : ambitious TV news reporter Taylor Skye (played by Summer Moore, who also wrote the script) is looking to put together a pilot episode for her own urban legends-themed “reality” series, and to that end returns to her hometown of Manitou Springs, Colorado and enlists the aid of a couple of her old high school friends, Brad (Jeff Allen) and Angel (Tiffany Joy Williams) in order to help her debunk the persistent myths about Satanic cult activity that have swirled around the area for years. The problem, though, is that there are rumblings about mysterious happenings in the woods just outside of town that seem to indicate that these stories are more than just local gossip, and so it’s time to go investigate, right? And time to get lost. To get in fights that threaten to divide the group (not that they exactly “got along” in the first place). To hear strange noises and see strange sights off in the distance. And, finally, to learn far too late that there’s no escape and that these devil-worshipers are very real indeed.


Even by the admittedly lower standards of “found footage” no-budgeters, this is particularly lame stuff. I’m not sure how much was spent on this production, but it couldn’t — or at least shouldn’t — have been more than a couple thousand bucks, and chances are that if you got a few of your friends together in front of your camera phone for a day or two, you’d be able to crank out something at least this good, and quite likely a damn sight better. I honestly wonder  what prompted Hagen and Moore to even make this thing, as they clearly have nothing to say and nothing new to add to the picture, nor is there anything on offer here to make prospective financiers of future projects think to themselves “these are people I’d like to shovel some money at,” so — why? The tone of the proceedings is so over the top, and the characters (particularly Skye) so unlikable that it’s obvious they’re hoping to sort of spoof the “mockumentary” genre even as they slavishly conform to all of its most basic “commandments,” but that’s pretty tough to do none of the performers are talented enough to either “play is straight” or “play it for laughs.” At the end of the day, then, I believe the term we’re looking for is pointless.


I take no level of joy or satisfaction in thoroughly trashing a film made by folks who have, as the saying goes, “nothing but a dream,” but seriously — fuck dreams. If you don’t have some actual ability to back your big ideas up, just do yourselves — and the rest of us — a favor. If you don’t know how to make a movie, then don’t make one until you do. The Warning is literally a flick that never should have been made, and one you definitely shouldn’t watch under any circumstances.

  1. Ryan C. (trashfilmguru) says:

    Reblogged this on Through the Shattered Lens.

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