Pro-Life (2006)

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Overall Rating 59%
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Ranked #6,348
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Determined to "rescue" his pregnant daughter from an abortion clinic, a religious fanatic and his sons plan a violent firearm assault just as the doctors suspect her pregnancy might not be of this world. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: September 11, 2007
It's sort of funny, really; the one film that really stood out for most critics from the first season of Masters of Horror was John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns. I absolutely hated that one. One of the films that was almost universally panned from the second season of Masters of Horror was John Carpenter's Pro-Life, and you know what? I loved it. It's not perfect, mind you, but it's still a damned entertaining film that leads me to believe that maybe, just maybe, Carpenter isn't a washed-up hack desperately clinging to the selling power of his classics after all.

Our storyline begins with Alex (Mark Feuerstein) and Kim (Emmanuelle Vaugier), a couple of lovers who just so happen to work together at an abortion clinic out in the middle of nowhere. While driving to work one day, they almost run over a young girl who comes barreling out of the woods and into the road. It's obvious to those of us watching at home and the characters on the screen that someone or something is chasing her, and considering that the young lady is obviously shaken up over her near-death experience, the couple decides to take her back to the clinic and check her out.

The young lady soon introduces herself as Angelique (Caitlin Wachs), and she also lets this couple in on a little secret: she's pregnant, and she desperately wants to abort the baby. Why? That'll be revealed later, but in the meantime, isn't it extremely convenient that she's in an abortion clinic? The one little problem in the plan is the fact that Angelique's father Dwayne (Ron Perlman) just so happens to be the local highly-conservative Christian, and as you may or may not be aware, those folks don't take too kindly to abortion. Dwayne also has a van that is chock-full of guns and ammunition that he and his sons aren't afraid to use, and all the while, Angelique is desperately pleading with the doctors to abort her baby. When the shit finally hits the fan, the shit really hits the fan for all involved... and the Christians are soon the least of everyone's worries as the pregnancy moves along.

The one thing that really sold me on this film was the fact that the storyline was presented without taking sides on the sensitive issue of abortion. It would have been really easy for Carpenter to inject his personal beliefs (whatever they may be) into this film, but he chose to take the high road and simply present the themes and let us make up our own minds. Is abortion wrong? Not always, no; especially not in this particular case. So, is it justifiable? Not always, and the characters that argue this side of the matter aren't presented as raving lunatics: sure, they're a little extreme in their beliefs, but they're well-spoken and raise valid points in regard to their standpoints. Regardless of your own beliefs on the subject, you can safely go into this one and not walk away offended due to the subject matter, which is an extreme rarity when dealing with sensitive subjects such as this.

Of course, this is a horror film that we're dealing with, so it should come as no surprise that the abortion angle is merely a means to set up the bigger picture. Now, I won't spoil what happens (every other review out there has done a superb job of that), but I will say that there's actually a great, old-school horror film that comes complete with all sorts of the creepy crawlies that Carpenter is known for and plenty of tense moments as things get more and more out of control. It feels a lot like one of those monster movies that littered store shelves during the late eighties, but it's all done with modern effects and with a shortage of the clichés. That, my friends, is a very good thing.

If all of that hasn't sold you on the film, let me just give you two more words: Ron Perlman. Has this man ever turned in a bad performance? Sure, he may have been in some bad movies, but as far as his actual performances go... I can't think of a bad one off the top of my head. The man just oozes charisma and is always a pleasure to watch, and his appearance in Pro-Life is no exception. The rest of the cast may not measure up to him, and while they do range from well below average to simply average in terms of acting ability, nobody is bad enough to blast in this review.

So, is it a perfect film? Not quite, but it is damned entertaining. Is it the best of the second season of Masters of Horror? Not quite, but it does come close. Is it worth a viewing? Hell yes. 8/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added September 11, 2007 at 4:35pm
I am getting worried, more and more, about John Carpenter's ability to direct a solid motion picture. Ever since "Ghosts of Mars", he really hasn't directed anything I would consider passable for someone I consider to be a master. Most of the horror icons -- Carpenter & Craven specifically -- have not been performing to expectations lately, while men like George Romero continue to impress with fresh and exciting material. I thought "Pro Life" was typical post-"Ghosts of Mars" Carpenter, and maybe even more disappointing than the rest because you'd think he'd really shine here in his element. 4/10.
Symx #2: Symx - added November 10, 2008 at 10:26pm
The devil was great
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