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PPI Films, 1998
Running Time: 94 minutes
Director: Peter Gerretsen
Producers: Peter & Paul Lalonde
Amazon.ca: NTSC DVD, NTSC VHS
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Reviewed by: Greg Slade
Apocalypse is an "end times" thriller in a similar style to Left Behind: the antichrist is the president of the European Union, the protagonist is a reporter, and so on. The film was made in Canada, which I find more than a little embarrassing, because the sets, effects, and acting are all laughably bad. Even some of the plot elements are, well, pretty strange. One thing which especially bemused me was the fact that all of the raptured people leave behind their clothes, not lying as they would have fallen when the body disappeared, but folded into neat piles. (One character, apparently, even took the time to write a note.) This might possibly be a deliberate parallel with Christ's head cloth being folded apart from the body wrappings in John 20:7, but speaking strictly for myself, when Jesus calls, I suspect that I won't be taking the time to fold my clothes before answering. (On the other hand, Mom has always said that I don't fold my clothes neatly enough.) Another thing which was very bizarre was the "rushed" feel to the story. The whole film only covers a single week. The antichrist is already making messianic claims before the rapture even happens, and the newly believing Christians are being killed less than a week afterwards.
The film usually stitches in actual news or documentary footage, rather than attempting to create battle scenes using special effects. This makes the battle scenes a good deal more realistic than in most films at this budget level, and, sadly, recent history has provided plenty of footage with suitably apocalyptic scenes for the producers to choose from. Jack and Rexella Van Impe (whose ministry bankrolled the production), Luis Palau, and other preachers put in appearances through videotapes which the characters watch. How much you appreciate the Van Impe sequences will depend on whether you like their style, but Palau is always worth listening to.
I watched this with my mother, and when it was over, she asked me if I thought that a non-Christian, finding a video like this after the rapture, would come to believe in Christ because of it, and I couldn't come up with a good answer. There was, of course, some reference to the Biblical passages which lead some to hold this particular eschatological position, but not really enough to explain what's going on. In fact, the passages and issues shown seem to be chosen more with an eye to demonstrate that the preachers had accurately foreseen what was going to happen than to explain to unbelievers what is going on (and, more importantly, what to do about it.) Then, too, the low production values tend to detract from the believability of the story. And, of course, my own reading of the Bible inclines me to different conclusions about the events surrounding Christ's return.
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