Angel Heart Combines Noir Genre With Horror

First off, a letter from the people. I got this from a certain person whom we’ll refer to as “laycd.”

Laycd writes: “You should review ‘Iron Monkey’ for all those ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ fans….”

Ok. I’ll do that next week. This week, I was too poor and sick to go to the movies. I got some kind of sinus infection, and I’m sneezing and coughing all the time. But next week, count on it.

Seeing as it’s Halloween and all, I decided to do a horror movie for this edition. My roommate suggested this week’s film, “Angel Heart.” By suggest, I mean he rented it and told me to watch it and review it. So, this one is for you, unnamed roommate.

“Angel Heart” starts out like one of those cheesy 30’s detective movies. You know, “Of all the offices in all the cities, she had to walk into mine.” One of those…except instead of some leggy skirt, we are treated to Robert DeNiro. DeNiro plays a big city lawyer named Louis Cyphre. Cyphre contracts Angel, the detective (as played by Mickey Rourke), to find a missing crooner named Johnny Favorite.

Angel begins on a search for Favorite, who is apparently suffering from amnesia, and has neglected a debt owed to Cyphre. Everyone who has had contact with Favorite is dying mysteriously and grotesquely, from his tarot card reader girlfriend to his guitarist, Toots.

Detective Angel learns he is battling strong, dark forces. Favorite evidently was a practitioner of voodoo. Angel soon discovers he is in way over his head, and as forces align themselves against him, he finds his only out may be the devil himself….

Ok, so that’s the plot summary. Now I can talk about this movie. At first, I thought, “Oh God, this movie is gonna suck so bad,” because I always hated those detective movies.

True to its genre, I guess, this movie started really slow. You have to warm up to the characters. Once the story moves to the Bayou, it really picks up.

Voodoo is really scary stuff. So is the Devil. So, put ’em together, and you’ve got yourself a scary movie. Makes sense. Ebert gave this three and a half stars. And Ebert is always stingy with the stars.

There is an X-rated sex scene in this movie starring Lisa Bonet from The Cosby Show. This movie needed some comic relief and it would have gotten all 4 stars from Ebert. It’s a little too serious sometimes.

I really can’t say too much more about this movie without ruining it, so it was stupid to review. Too bad. Go watch it, you will like it. Just don’t let those little kids who are trick-or-treating see any of it. Ok, if you are going to go rent it, stop reading now.

For those of you who aren’t going to rent it, here is some extra information. Louis Cyphre, a.k.a. Lucifer, is the devil. The reason the devil is after Favorite is because the singer apparently sold his soul to Satan for fame. So, Angel is dealing with the devil himself. There is a moral lesson there some where, ask your pro-fessors, because I don’t know what it is.

Favo-rite was also a big fan of voodoo. Voodoo of course only works if both parties believe it does. I guess that is the premise of Cyphre asking Angel to do this investigation. Cyphre asks Angel if he is an atheist, Angel replies, “Yeah, I’m from Brooklyn.”

So there you go. I left out the really shocking, surprise, thrilling ending, so you still have a reason to go watch it. It’s Halloween, and all you have is Hocus Pocus playing on TV. Is that really what you want to watch? Didn’t think so.

Next week: Iron Monkey for Laycd. Guess I’m gonna have to scrounge five bucks from somewhere. Unless the generous people at the Sylva Multiplex see it fitting to give a poor movie reviewer a free pass….

Ever get tired of reviews about movies that you don’t care about? Each week, staff writer Sean Bilichka will review a rented movie as selected by the populace of Western Carolina University. If you have a suggestion for a movie for Sean to review, or want to comment on reviews that Sean has already given, e-mail