Director Michael Paris’s Spawn: The Recall is a very well made film. It’s just fairly senseless to those not in the know about the mythology of Todd McFarlane’s comic book character. As such, without familiarity with the source material, the film becomes something close to an abstract visual piece. And while my enjoyment of Spawn: The Recall would have undoubtedly been enhanced if I knew the lore behind what was going on, the film was still a pleasure.
The setting in a small supermarket is a good choice. It’s a universally familiar place that grounds the happenings in reality. The trickling of blood, creeping like time-lapse roots of red along the shelves are effectively done, while mundane elements such as a the diamond holes on metal shelves are used to surprisingly good effect. The only thing taking away from it is the odd choice to have the actors speak in English. It’s clearly not their native language, so we’re left to question why these characters are all speaking English to each other, when none of them need to. Perhaps the film is supposed to be set in America, like the comic book? Regardless, it does provide a barrier against us really getting into the film.
The special effects kick up a gear when the child Michael is contacted and lured by the dark spirits towards an ominous gumball machine. Characters from toys and cereal packets come to life to appeal to him and it’s rather creepy. When Spawn himself appears to block the child from the spirits, he is a majestic sight to behold. In both appearances he envelopes the screen in his chains and half blood cape. He’s presented as a truly otherworldly being and it’s worth the running time just to see him alone.
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