Film Review: The Prophet’s Son (dir by Paul Anthony McClean, Maurice Sparks, and Josiah David Warren)

As I’ve mentioned on this site in the past, I’ve always been fascinated by amateur feature films.  These are films that were made totally outside of the Hollywood system.  For the most part, they’re made by filmmakers with little to no formal training and they feature a cast of nonprofessionals.  Many of these films are passion projects for the people involved.  It’s not uncommon to hear about them being made by an all-volunteer cast and crew.  Sometimes, these films are surprisingly effective and sometimes — well, most times — they’re just really bad.

The 2012 film, The Prophet’s Son, is one of those largely amateur films and sad to say, it’s not a particularly good film.  If Tommy Wiseau decided to follow up The Room with an evangelical film that attempted to deal with almost every single issue facing the world today, the end result might be something like The Prophet’s Son.

It’s an odd film.  I have to admit that one of the main reasons that I watched it was because I had seen the film described as being about the end of the world and I have a weakness for cheaply made apocalypse films.  While The Prophet’s Son does feature a very brief nuclear attack on the city of Denver, it’s not really an apocalypse film because 1) the world doesn’t end, 2) the rapture doesn’t occur, and 3) the Antichrist never makes an appearance.  Instead, the nuclear attack just kind of comes out of nowhere and I will admit that it’s impossible for me not to have just a little admiration for a film that would toss a random nuclear war into an already cluttered storyline.  One minute, writer Juliet Oscar (played by Alexandra Harris) is sitting outside and the next minute, there’s missiles raining down on Denver.  Juliet and her boyfriend, musician and movie star Abel Benjamin (Josiah David Warren), get to safety and pray and the newly elected President of the United States appears on television and announces that America has survived.

Abel, incidentally, is the prophet’s son of the title.  Or, at least, I think he is.  He also has brother named Obadiah (Taurean Cavins-Flores), who I guess could just as easily be the prophet’s son.  Their father is the pastor of a church and he keeps saying that dark times are ahead, which I guess makes him a prophet, though he could just be one of those people who spends too much time on social media.  The film is a bit difficult to follow, to be honest.  At one point, Obadiah foils a robbery at a coffeeshop by telling the thief that he needs to get right with God.  The thief responds by shooting Obadiah in the leg.  Obadiah survives and Abel later learns that the thief loved Abel’s last movie so Abel visits him in jail, forgives him, and then performs an impromptu exorcism on him.  (It’s a super quick exorcism, too.  I’m used to longer exorcisms.)

Meanwhile, Juliet’s brother, Jason (Peter Lugo), says that he’s not going to waste his time with church until he turns 18.  Unfortunately, he then gets caught up in the middle of a surprisingly graphic school shooting rampage.  This leads to Jason’s twin brother, Isaac (Brad Spiotta), running away and getting lost in Denver.  Juliet and Abel search for him with the help of a some gang members.  When Juliet spots Isaac, she runs to him.  Abel, meanwhile, stays behind to give some money to a homeless woman.

Eventually, Abel ends up in Manila, where he witnesses people being kidnapped off the streets.  He tells the maid at his hotel that she needs to pay more.  While this is going on, Juliet is being pursued by Caleb (Jared Haley), who is a loud and proud atheist.  “Get me a beer and hamburger!” he shouts at one point.

What does all of this have to with the nuclear attack on Denver?  It’s hard to say.  The Prophet’s Son covers a lot of ground but the script and the direction are so disjointed that it’s basically impossible to follow the film’s story.  In fact, the film is such a disorganized mess that it becomes oddly fascinating to try to keep track of what’s actually happening.  For whatever reason, it took me forever to figure out that Abel and Obadiah were supposed to be brothers.  When Isaac mentioned that he and Jason were twins, I literally shouted at the TV, “No, you’re not!” because, seriously, there’s nothing about them that would lead you to suspect that they were even related, not to mention twins.  Characters come and go throughout the film.  The school shooters appear out of nowhere.  The coffeeshop bandit disappears after the jailhouse exorcism.  Abel has a manager who appears to be in love with him but who he treat rather coldly.  Despite being the biggest superstar in the world, Abel can wander around Denver without anyone recognizing him.  Denver, itself, is remarkably undamaged after being nuked.  It’s a strange, strange film, even if the world doesn’t actually end.

And you can watch it on Prime if you want!

2 responses to “Film Review: The Prophet’s Son (dir by Paul Anthony McClean, Maurice Sparks, and Josiah David Warren)

  1. You certainly make me want to watch it. I have a soft spot for cheap projects in general as well. Though the subject matter of this film as described by you is pretty flaky to start with no? I find cheap concepts are often helped by slick treatments. Even with small budgets. Like, Drive for example. On paper that plot is almost tacky. And the main character paper thin. But that movie as filmed certainly wasn’t. Also, John Wick. Cheap concept–cute, but cheap. But the treatment was very slick. I know this film didn’t have the budget of these smaller, but larger than this, production. But still. Also “It Follows” comes to mind. On the face of it a cheap clichéd concept with a sometimes annoying soundtrack (to some, not me. But I’ve been told). That still is very compelling for the treatment. In any event, I’m sure to see this attempt per your treatment here. 🙏


  2. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 8/24/20 — 8/30/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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