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Overall Rating

Awesome: 25.77%
Worth A Look40.21%
Average: 3.09%
Pretty Bad: 17.53%
Total Crap: 13.4%

3 reviews, 79 user ratings

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Keep, The
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by Jack Sommersby

"Michael Mann's Nadir"
1 stars

Not scary enough to satisfy horror fans and too pretentious to sate the art-house crowd as well, it's a real stinker-a-roo.

You'd think a story line involving a five-hundred-year-old monster systematically slaughtering WWII German soldiers in a spooky Romanian castle in 1941 would make for an agreeable entertainment, but writer/director Michael Mann's The Keep, adapted from F. Paul Wilson's extraordinary novel, is an incoherent, laughable mess from start to finish. The castle is adorned with hundreds of nickel crosses, and the caretaker wastes no time in warning the squad's commanding officer to vacate immediately, that despite their orders to set up post there, it's a place where no outsiders have succeeded in spending so much as a single night. When two soldiers remove a piece from the stone wall, they unwittingly unleash a force of consummate evil, and the horror begins; this in turn sends a warning to a man thousands of miles away, who awakens with glowing eyes and charts a course to the Keep, where he must do final battle with an age-old nemesis. Wilson's novel is a masterpiece of sustained suspense that also contains an affecting romance and an array of rich characterizations; but Mann's screenplay is a shambles, omitting pertinent information and refusing to make even semi-sense of the story aspects that have been retained. Even worse is his direction, which rather than adhering to narrative storytelling with structure indulges in self-conscious arty camerawork that's simply insufferable. Mann, who is technically gifted but can be way too stylish for his own good, is clearly interested in telling the story strictly through visual means, and Alex Thompson, an equally-talented technician, lights the film as if it were a SoHo-chic shaving lotion commercial, with lots of smoke and shadows and backlighting and every other attention-getting filmmaking artifice known to man. The result is unscary and boring, with a pathetic-looking monster with what looks like red licorice sticks across its torso and an amplified low voice that makes James Earl Jones sound feminine by comparison, all of which elicits more in the way of unintentional guffaws than palpitations. And the good cast, ranging from Scott Glenn as the hero to Gabriel Byrne as a nasty kill-at-will German major, is disappointingly wasted. Read the novel if you want a sleepless, nerve-frying night; rent the film if you're looking for ninety-six minutes of grade-A slum and slumber.

If ever there were a book that deserved another screen adaptation, boy, is this it.

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originally posted: 06/08/06 08:37:17
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell best i remember it sucks i was 12 at the time 1 stars
4/03/17 Stephen M. St. Onge Mann took a great novel, and wrecked it by completely changing the villian. Incredibly bad. 2 stars
11/01/15 Scott Amundsen How Could So Much Go So Wrong So Fast? 2 stars
3/19/14 Nick Johansen Strangely addictive. Worth looking at for Prochnow, Byrne, and McKellen's performances 5 stars
3/19/12 Martin Incompetent rehash of well worn B-movie clichés put together without style or sense. 1 stars
3/06/12 Donny Darko Could not be worse. 1 stars
11/27/11 Pete Weird movie. Michael Mann shouldn't do horror. Oddly watchable curiosity. Cool monster. 4 stars
12/29/09 IroQuois Thiis movie is great. Weinberg's infantile rant bares his nescience & favor of ADHD cinema. 5 stars
10/23/09 Gangster89 Throughout most of her life, she has been quiet and introverted. , 4 stars
9/29/09 Patrick Love what their is of this movie! Would love to see a directors cut! 5 stars
9/21/09 Matt Love this movie. Just watched my DVD transfer from VHS. Never gets old. 5 stars
6/25/09 sad person Funniest movie I've seen in a long time, sadly, unintentionally so. 2 stars
6/21/09 PATRICK RYAN Great movie, Would love to see a restored directors cut on DVD. Please Michael Mann 5 stars
6/02/09 Dr Zebby A film more about mood than narrative. Excellent photography & TD score. Judge for yourself 5 stars
4/27/09 Troy Excellent cast,Great visuals.A pity the studio butchered it. 5 stars
3/31/09 awalkingsatire this was bad. like, really really bad. freaky 80's techno soundtrack made me laugh. 2 stars
1/04/09 snOOze Weird, slow, dark, different, excellent. For cinema lovers only. 5 stars
12/15/08 Mark This film should not be confusing to anyone with an average IQ 4 stars
9/24/08 Mark A confusing, muddled mess of a story line. Annoying music and good actors in a BAD movie! 2 stars
2/13/08 John I really want a remastered directors cut to replace my laserdisc. HD DVD?? 5 stars
7/31/07 Allen Zbranek Love this movie... Where is the director's cut dvd? 5 stars
6/15/07 al smith stunning visuals and very atmospheric 4 stars
3/23/07 paul m i have all ways loved this movie .. .. it is od .. but that is what makesit grea 4 stars
2/21/07 Stephen An underrated film that's aged well. Needs some sort of Dvd treatment. 5 stars
1/06/07 Bill Visually, most beautiful film. Story good enuff for sequel. 4 stars
8/28/06 Gordon a gem....HAS to be seen widescreen........stylish 4 stars
7/17/06 mark movie is...but the soundtrack and imagery occasionally mesh to make it worth a look. 3 stars
6/20/06 michael jack shitersby would't know a good movie at any time. ihe's mentally challenged 4 stars
6/20/06 Jason Hyde an odd one. it looks great, but never quite gels the way it should. and the book was better 3 stars
5/19/06 lachlan you describing it as a"haunted nazi castle movie" demonstates the unreliability of your rev 4 stars
1/19/06 Don A classic that is under rated,a must see 5 stars
7/20/05 CDM Great German WW II vintage stuff 4 stars
4/12/05 David Fowler Brilliant, surreal horror! Magnificent visuals, cast, and Tangerine Dream score. Hypnotic!! 5 stars
4/03/05 Jack Sommersby An incoherent, laughable, disingenious adaptation of a brilliant novel. 1 stars
12/08/04 richard One of my top five movies 5 stars
11/01/04 Robert Has been awhile but memrable 4 stars
8/11/04 paul kierley jaw dropping, and not in the good sense! 2 stars
7/17/04 Trancedevio Much better than most people think! Great photography, music and cast. 4 stars
7/02/04 Anubis 67 Excellent 4 stars
6/29/04 Colin Foote Flawed due to agressive editing by the studio. But a very well shot film by Michael Mann. 4 stars
6/25/04 Jeff Great movie, I really liked it! 4 stars
6/20/04 donald palmer i thought that movie was exceptionally good and would highly recommend its viewing 5 stars
5/28/04 Paul Brilliant 5 stars
12/06/03 dave lalibertte great supernatural horror flick 5 stars
11/02/03 Dynamike Good overcomes Evil. that was re-generated from the evil that lay within the SS 4 stars
10/12/03 Himself The cinematography and cast are great! 5 stars
10/05/03 john holdsworth totally amazing film, a must see. 5 stars
9/06/03 andy firth its not that bad! 4 stars
8/20/03 zrski I liked the music and sound in general. 4 stars
7/14/03 Bentcat Never compare movies to books, they are separate artforms entirely-Cinematography Right On 4 stars
6/01/03 Guapa I loved this movie... 5 stars
4/27/03 jesse x watched 3 times to see if i'm missing something - i'm not.. read the book. 2 stars
2/21/03 anthony harrison number 3 in my list of best films i have ever seen in my life..bluw me away!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/08/03 Charles Tatum All style, no script 2 stars
1/23/03 Al Van Great Score, Some Great Visuals (Hey folks this was PRE-CGI) 4 stars
12/31/02 Jack Sommersby Incomprehensible, crappy adaption of magnificent novel. 1 stars
12/23/02 Marcelo I love the scene when soldier runs toward the cross, forget the rest... 2 stars
11/20/02 Darrell Z. Epic flick, but the "BitchSlap" review is better. 4 stars
10/13/02 Blodge Beautiful cinematography, very atmospheric. Book is better. 4 stars
9/15/02 The Watcher Not quite a true story as told by my grandfather, but close enough 5 stars
8/23/02 Lee Harris A superb movie, wonderful music and great atmosphere. The book of course is even better! 5 stars
7/04/02 corgi to military history buffs, the german uniforms, insignia, vehicles, etc. are letter perfect 3 stars
6/25/02 Bat This movie is a lot better then people say. The score is probably the best in the world. 5 stars
6/21/02 Kirsty Watched this years ago.found the soundtrack fantastic and the film unusual. Bought it! 4 stars
6/17/02 William Scalia By today's standard's of creativity, this film is a masterpiece. 4 stars
6/07/02 Joe Robinson Very good Movie. 4 stars
2/21/02 Thomas James Ramsbottom The book is better, but the film has one saving grace: the majestic introduction of Molasar 4 stars
2/13/02 George Rottman I really enjoyed this one, regardless of the "experts" 2 stars
1/30/02 james irvin Quite a good movie. great beginning but it does fade near the end. 4 stars
1/10/02 frank Somewhat of an oddity but good 4 stars
12/11/01 robert Creates a stunning atmosphere - I love it. 4 stars
11/22/01 donna interesting and different 4 stars
9/15/01 Eric Total wreck of a film. Laughable score. It butchers F. Paul Wilson's brilliant novel. 1 stars
7/18/01 Paulette I'd really like to see it again. 5 stars
5/02/01 Gregg Hollins This is a very hard to find movie but it is a good one to see. This is not main stream 4 stars
1/26/01 Bodhi Great visuals,great athmosphere,overly serious,silly performances but interesting. 4 stars
1/24/01 realityflaw To understand the story you should read the book.They did the best they could in 1&1/2 hrs. 4 stars
8/04/00 Sillyboy Silly crap but semi-watchable thanks to a good cast and some nice visuals. 2 stars
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  16-Dec-1983 (R)



Directed by
  Michael Mann

Written by
  Michael Mann

  Scott Glenn
  Alberta Watson
  Jurgen Prochnow
  Robert Prosky
  Gabriel Byrne
  Ian McKellen

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