Have you ever come to the end of watching a movie and realised that if someone were to ask you what it were about you probably wouldn't be able to give them a coherent explanation? This is usually due to either some rather complex plotting or a complete absence of what should be the plot, instead being replaced with some other pointless garbage. The second explanation is actually a great way to introduce our my next selection, The Devil's Tomb.
From the box art/one sheet this film looks like it could be rather promising; Gooding Jr, Winstone, Perlman and Rollins have all proved their acting metal in my opinion so what could go wrong? Answer, lots... A scary amount of lots!
The plot involves an elite team of soldiers going into a underground bunker which leads to an archaeological dig site, they are attempting to rescue a scientist who's daughter (a CIA agent) has recruited their team and is accompanying them on the search. Now it gets complicated, apparently the dig site is the location of a temple which holds the frozen body of Nephilim; an angel who has been thrown from heaven by God for being a naughty boy... girl... thing. The scientists are in fact some form of organisation which agree to absorb the spirit of Nephilim to stop it escaping and causing a literal hell on earth, ultimately leading to their death.
As a viewer I would expect a lot of back story and explanation about the crazy apocalyptic alien (yes, it does look like the type of alien even the X-Files would reject for being too obvious) angel, but instead it is all crammed into a few pieces of dialogue, mostly from Rollins who also spends a lot of time with his mouth taped shut which is probably not a coincidence.
Instead the majority of this film is spent on the on the actions of this apparently elite unit, if these guys are elite we should probably give up all hope now; lets just head off to the air raid shelters and stick our heads between our knees because they sure as hell aren't going to leading the charge for salvation. From their inability to clear a room correctly to their constant need to wander off on their own these guys are easy pickings from the very moment they shut the bunker hatch.
This is problem with The Devil's Tomb, instead of watching the film it turns even the die hard pacifist of a viewer into a shouting critic of the teams military manoeuvres. Also the film makers have tried to cram so many extra plot points into the last 20 minutes I was left wondering what the hell was going on, there is a completely pointless flashback storyline featured throughout about Gooding Jrs former Captain which was simply building up to explain 10 seconds of the current timeline story!
I could go on about the terribly thought out plot but I'd be here for a long time; lets just say the soldiers are stupid, the religious horror side of things an after thought, and it just all looks cheap right down to the card board sets... You know it's bad when the actors are running up and down the same set corridor but supposed to be in different locations.
There is definitely a strong cast involved in this film but only Gooding Jr gets any real screen time out of the big names, Perlman appears on monitors for the majority of the film which about sums up his performance which is video called in to the extent that you're bored for him. Rollins appearance is welcomed comic relief, along side Fobbs (playing the rookie Click); these guys make the film bearable but only just. A basic script with no suspense means the majority of the lines are predictable and delivered at a plodding pace, with a bit of eye candy for the guys in some random lesbian encounter and the appearance of a naked centrefold model forced in for good measure.
Of course as with any film touted at horror there are obviously going to bloody scenes, these are relatively few and far between although there is a lot of black coloured vomiting and a lovely scene of pus leaking sore licking... that isn't a typo so don't get excited. The effects are very low budget, lots of bright, bright red blood and brain bits but nothing original or of note, sometimes imaginative character endings can save a film but in this case it's all very run of the mill.
All in all there is little to redeem this straight to DVD title, even fans of the actors will probably not enjoy this offering and it will be assigned to the "wish I hadn't done that" list for most of its head liners. I wouldn't bother watching this again and recommend that if you haven't seen it then save your eyes the torture.