It was the only supernatural film Denzel Washington starred in
He’s one of the greatest actors of the 21st century and has starred in critically-acclaimed blockbusters, meaning it’s rare to describe a Denzel Washington film as underrated.
The 1998 film is the only supernatural movie Washington has starred in, and sees Washington play Detective John Hobbes, a good, hard-working cop in Philadelphia who lives with his brother, Art (Gabriel Casseus), and the latter’s son, Sam (Michael J. Pagan).
In the movie’s opening scene, we witness Hobbes visit a serial killer on death row who he helped capture named Edgar Reese (a scene-stealing Elias Koteas). Before he is executed, Reese acts erratically, ranting in a foreign language and singing The Rolling Stones’ version of the track ‘Time is On My Side’ at the top of his lungs.
However, after Reese’s death, more killings are committed bearing the serial killer’s M.O. as Hobbes’ begins to notice people around him acting strangely, sometimes singing the same song. It soon becomes clear that the murders and bizarre occurrences are the work of an ancient demon that is able to jump into people’s bodies and possess them.
And as the malignant force seems to take joy in making Hobbes suffer, the detective turns to a professor of religion (Embeth Davidtz) for help in protecting his family.
Despite a unique plot, engaging characters and a typically masterful performance from Washington, the film didn’t do great with critics or at the box office.
It currently holds a lowly 40% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviewers criticising its two-hour-plus runtime, dark tone and attempted blending of a cop drama and a supernatural thriller.
As well as this, it was a box office flop, only making $25.2 million on a $46 million budget.
However, based on its 7.0 score on IMDB, many of those that did see the film liked it.
And, it could the perfect tonic to today’s age of endless franchises and superhero movies.
So, if you’re looking for something a bit different to watch this weekend, this could be the film you’re looking for.