FILM REVIEW: “PROSPER” (2014) (guest review by Cinema Slasher’s Blair Hoyle)

Deronte’ L. Smith’s PROSPER is an independent horror film which tells the tale of witchcraft gone horribly awry. But how does it stack up? Read on to find out!

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The premise of PROSPER is pretty simple, yet off-the-bat hits us with one of the sad tropes of a lot of indie horror, as the film finds a group of the oldest-looking teenagers in cinematic history (c’mon, you know a lot of films make this mistake) seeking the help of a bizarre young woman, Irene Good (April Hollingsworth) to hold a séance in order to communicate with the deceased brother of one of the group members. Of course, loads of ghostly witchiness occurs along the way, but virtually none of it has really anything to do with the overall story. There’s also a subplot that tries to explain that somehow the Illuminati is involved in all of this, but that nonsense was miraculously even more difficult for me to follow than the main storyline. Let me be clear, I want to love everything I watch. I never go into any movie wanting to hate it, but PROSPER simply left me no choice.

Hokey themes aside, PROSPER’s biggest flaws are its obnoxious, unlikeable characters and dopey, “you people be crazy” brand of dialogue. None of the characters make any logical choices, nor do any of them behave in a way that human beings actually do. First, they elicit Irene’s help, but then proceed to mock her and her lifestyle before – without any real hesitation – changing their minds completely and doing everything she asks. Then, when the supernatural crap begins to hit the fan, only one member of the group decides to (for lack of a better term) get the hell out of Dodge. The others decide to wait it out for … well, no real reason at all, I guess. It’s honestly an absurd plot convenience that is completely and utterly insulting to its audience.

In the third act, two of the main female characters strip down and proceed to engage physically with each other for no apparent reason other than to add some girl-on-girl action in a film that already feels like a bunch of random scenes cut together. That’s pretty much the story of this film as a whole. It’s just a bunch of scenes that serve as the cinematic equivalent to buzzwords. “Witch,” “Illuminati,” “sex scene,” “girl on girl.” – but again, that’s just my opinion.

THE BOTTOM LINE:
Overall, this is a film for the Walking Dead audience; the kind of film that would’ve been a Syfy Original Movie in the early 2000s. It honestly could’ve been a sequel to Jerry Feifer’s abhorrent Witchcraft series. I’d like to believe that there is a good movie somewhere inside of PROSPER; a coherent story that cashes in on the interesting aspects of witchcraft and ritualistic behavior. Sadly, it just isn’t visible on the surface. Hopefully, the early press screener seen here is nowhere near the final product, as this one is a pretty big swing-and-a-miss. 3.5/10

-Blair Hoyle
Nerd Nation Magazine

Blair Hoyle is a professional writer, journalist, and award-winning independent filmmaker for Cinema Slasher/American Horror House Productions. He is a graduate of Western Carolina University’s film program, training under director Jack Sholder. His views and opinions are 100% his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Nerd Nation Magazine (or anyone else, for that matter) so don’t be a d-bag and try to sue anyone over the stuff he writes. It’s called an opinion. Don’t like it? The internet is a big place, go read something else, preferably on here!

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