If you ask me what’s my favorite Denzel Washington movie, I would always answer with “Fallen”. I love this one so much that whenever it’s playing on TV, I watch it. And if it’s too late and I’m sleepy, I try my best to keep my eyes open because just like with The X-Files series, I feel ashamed if I fall asleep during it. Fallen got under my skin, during my first viewing, a decade ago, and it hasn’t left me ever since.
John Hobbes, played brilliantly by Denzel Washington, strongly believes that with the execution of Edgar Reese, the serial killings will stop. Little did he know that during the killing spree Reese was possessed by a demon, named Azazel, who moves from body to body by touch. And soon after the execution, Hobbes, experiencing a lot of bizarre happenings, learns that the demon won’t stop and he’s the only one capable of catching him.
It’s quite long, a little over two hours, but I guarantee it’s worth every minute of it. I like how it starts, with Edgar Reese doing the death walk, while singing “Time is on my side” (a shout-out to all Rolling Stones fans), a scene very strange but it does clue you in that something is not right with the prisoner. And then, throughout the movie, every time this song is played, the feeling of impeding doom gets to be shockingly overwhelming. Because Azazel likes to sing, and to sing this particular Rolling Stones’s song over and over again. And every scene he appears in, it just chilling to the bone. Often I found myself with goosebumps while imagining what the other characters in the movie must be feeling at that moment. Especially Hobbes, who at some point, witnesses something out of a horror story.
The great acting (Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland) comes with admirable camera work and directing, which along with a powerful script and soundtrack, can easily play with your mind, sending shots of terror through your veins. I’m serious. Nothing has ever scared me every single time I’ve seen it, like this one. And unlike more recent films, Fallen does not leave you with unexplained questions. During its two hours, they are all answered, one way or the other. Some people will hate it, mostly because of the ending, which by the way is a bit of a shocker, but others who appreciate quality in an overlooked and a very underrated movie, will love it.