The kindly folks at Horror Homeroom recently asked me if I’d review the new movie, The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. Since I’ve been occasionally writing on religion and horror for them for a couple of years now, they knew I’d be interested. The review just dropped and you can read it here. Since this blog is a less formal place I’ll say a bit more about the film here, while encouraging you also to read the review. They won’t be the same. The movie, which is independent of any of the big studios, is hands-down the most theological horror I’ve ever seen. That’s because it’s fully based on a religious idea. It consists almost entirely of dialogue, so some will doubt it’s horror at all. What is being said, however, can be quite scary.
Using only two characters, the movie would work well as a stage play. The story revolves around a couple on a romantic weekend getaway. Far from any other people, they’re enjoying a fancy cabin in the woods when suddenly he (Michael) reveals to Gabby (her), that he’s God. Not all the time. In fact, he’s come to her at this moment without Michael even knowing it because she’s going to die that weekend. He wants to ensure she can get to Heaven. Throughout the weekend Michael switches back and forth between being himself and being God. Gabby fears she’s trapped with a psychopath, but as God Michael knows things about her that she’s never told him. They discuss the problems with God’s existence and the issue of theodicy as Gabby slowly comes to accept she will die there.
My Horror Homeroom piece has spoilers, but I won’t put them here. Horror fans might claim this isn’t horror at all. There’s no bloodshed, very little violence, and no monsters play a role (unless you count the Devil). Still, it is psychologically tense and it raises some scary questions. I was raised as a Fundamentalist. The fear implanted early that you might die not right with God has stayed with me all through my years of working in religious studies. From my perspective this was a pretty scary film. The script is very well written. So much so that I wonder if Jared Jay Mason, the writer, hasn’t taken a course or two in theology. My formal review gives quite a bit more detail, but you might want to watch the movie also. I found it surprisingly effective.