Sins of the Past: Kingdom Come (2014)


Greg A. Sager’s ‘Kingdom Come’ did not make a cinematic splash. In fact, it seems to have hardly made a ripple. Still, you might find it worth a look.

The Kingdom Come page on Rotten Tomatoes is basically blank, and few people would give it the highest praise. However, I watched it the way anyone should: Don’t over-analyze what’s going on, and don’t compare it too much to other films. In contrast, many people would — and certainly have — intently compared Kingdom Come with Saw. It’s not surprising. Like in Saw, this movie features a group of people who wake up in an abandoned building, not knowing exactly how they got there. You also have a fair share of good ol’ drama thrown in.

Still, unlike Saw, this movie is far more supernatural.. As these characters attempt to piece things together, strange things keep happening. Some demonic creatures keep showing up, trying to hurt everyone and drag them into the shadows. This is substantially different from Saw.

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The characters of Kingdom Come? There’s Sam (Ry Barrett), who comes across as a good guy, albeit flawed. There’s also a main female character, Jessica (Camille Hollett-French), who seems to be quite emotional and comfused. An angry black dude named Roger (Jo Jo Karume) seems hellbent on getting on everyone’s bad side, and apparently has a violent past. And why not have an overtly creepy guy named Charlie (William Foley), a mysterious figure called Daniel (Jason Martorino), an obviously racist guy (Nadir Bhindra), and a little girl (Ellie O’Brien)?

I appreciate that, in addition to the standard horror elements, it dabbles in issues of forgiveness, if not redemption. In my book, a movie tends to gain something if it actually attempts to make us think. While a fair amount of movies do that, this one comes across as somewhat genuine in its approach, perhaps because of the added horror elements. What better way to address past misdeeds than to be literally confronted by them (and by demons and a sort of over-the-top madman)? That would have me totally re-thinking my life. There couldn’t be a clearer variety of regret.

Kingdom Come (Matchbox Pictures)

While the religious aspects are a bit corny, they are pretty standard in horror and don’t totally detract from it. Supernatural-themed stories are sometimes fun to watch, and Kingdom Come’s creature designs are pretty decent (though some would disagree there as well). It was also filmed in an actual abandoned mental hospital, which is a neat fact unto itself.

Others critique the characters for continually trying to escape, because it’s obvious that there’s no way out. However, I don’t agree that it’s a weak point. For starters, no one knows exactly what’s going on. Maybe there would be a way out, and I’d likely keep trying for it. Who knows? A person might even resort to being a jerk in the process (assuming they aren’t already so predisposed). If you think people are always rational when under stress, I advise you to consider the Black Friday phenomenon, where people have literally stampeded each other just to get good deals on buying stuff. Well, there’s a little more at stake in this hell-like purgatory.

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When I got done watching Kingdom Come, I didn’t feel spellbound, but I didn’t feel hatred for it. It was alright. I didn’t expect to be at the edge of my seat, nor did I assume every question would be resolved. Basically, it delivered in the ways I expected, and didn’t do a bad job of it. Ultimately, this movie isn’t exactly like the Saw franchise, so don’t take that critique too seriously. It has similarities, but enough about the story sets it apart from that, and that’s good enough. I’d say Kingdom Come is worth a fair shot, as it’s a fair attempt at horror. It’s not exactly the path to righteousness, but that’s the nature of horror.