There are rare times when I feel a drink or five is needed to help me get through something going on in my life. And as it so happens, today was one of those days. Last September I posted a trailer for The Taking, and it looked like it had quite a lot of promise. But the magic of trailers is in making you believe something is going to be amazing. And what of The Taking? Well, let’s get right into it.
Well we’re off to a wonderful start, as ten minutes into the movie I have to stop it and go look up the previous post in order to read the synopsis. I had no clue what was going on, it was just a violent mish-mash of images and sounds, with no possible way to figure them out were you not already aware of what was going on. So in order to make things easier, I’m just going to re-post the synopsis from last post to make things simple.
The experience begins with Carl who seeks to murder his best friend and adulterous fiancé. Unexpectedly, he awakens in a wooded wasteland. He has no idea as to where he is or how he got there. A sinister family now holds him captive along with another victim named Jade. They’re subjected to arcane rituals and are left tied to a tree for several days.
When Carl looks back on their grisly experience in the forest, he comes to the realization that they’re not just in the woods; rather, they are in a place where people go to fight the vices living inside of them. The losing of this fight is something far worse than death; it’s the utter damnation of one’s very soul.
There you have it, that’s what’s happening in The Taking. Even armed with that knowledge, you are going to have a hell of a time following things. The whirlwind of random images continues on throughout the majority of the movie. There are some points where things calm down and you think to yourself, maybe the tidal wave of imagery is going to subside and I can finally enjoy myself. But it’s not long before you are mentally barraged once again and have to try to stay afloat.
Any real semblance of character development doesn’t happen until approximately the 35 minute mark. Which, subtracting the end credits, is around the halfway point in the movie. This fails for a couple of reasons: for one thing, you are already so annoyed by the random images and noises coming from your television that you won’t even care about the characters. Another thing is that the five-minute conversation between the two protagonists explains what they were doing before ending up in the woods, but doesn’t really give anything else about them. So you are still not given enough about them to give a shit about their surviving the whole ordeal.
As for the antagonists, you are given very little about them beyond their actions. No names, no stand out personality traits besides their individual looks. The leader is some old crone who may be either a demon or possessed by one, with an altered voice that is almost impossible to understand unless your bass setting is way down. And the backwoods family don’t even have a lot of screen time. In fact, the forest itself had more screen time then they do, and that’s no joke. In fact, I think shots of the forest can actually contend screen time wise with the protagonists for shits sake.
I feel a little bad for all this, because the duo behind The Taking, Cezil Reed and Lydelle Jackson (also known as the BAPartists) seem like pretty cool people. But I can’t in good conscience recommend this movie. The only reason it’s getting the rating it’s getting is because the scenery is pretty damn nice to look at. But that’s the best I can do. Avoid letting The Taking take your time and sanity, and go watch something else. Rest in peace.
Macabre Rating: 0.5 out of 5 tombstones.