• First Power, The



    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: October 10th, 2016.
    Director: Robert Resnikoff
    Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Tracy Griffith, Jeff Kober, Elizabeth Arlen, David Gale
    Year: 1990

    The Movie:

    Directed by Robert Resnikoff in 1990, The First Power is a moderately successful thriller that starts off with a scene in which a nun named Sister Marguerite (Elizabeth Arlen) confronts a monsignor (David Gale of Re-Animator fame in a quick cameo!) and a cardinal to warn them that Satan is coming. From here we meet a cop named Russell Logan (Lou Diamond Phillips) working a case out on a map. As he jots together the lines that connect the different crime scenes, he can't help but notice that they draw a pentagram. Probably not a good sign, but then, he is trying to track down a murderer being referred to as ‘the Pentagram Killer' so maybe he's onto something after all.

    Shortly after he's out on a stakeout which leads to the killer capturing a female cop. Logan heads to the scene to give chase and while he catches the bad guy, he gets stabbed in the process. The case goes to trial and the killer's name is revealed to be Patrick Channing (Jeff Kober). He's given the death penalty and Channing is put to death but not before Logan gets a call from the same person who tipped him off about the killer warning him not to let the state execute him. No dice. Sometime later, Logan heads back to his apartment one night to find the place covered in blood, but no sooner does he see this than the blood vanishes. Does this tie into the murder of a young woman done in the same style as the man who was just executed? Is there a copycat killer on the loose or has Channing somehow managed to come back from the dead? A psychic named Tess Seaton (Tracy Griffith) sees Channing and then hooks up with Logan, letting him know she was the one who tipped him off about all of this. Together they might just be able to figure out what's going on here and stop more bodies from hitting the ground, but it won't be easy when it seems that Channing has somehow come back from the dead to control the living and continue his killing spree all in the name of his dark master.

    It's a little on the predictable side and relies a bit too heavily on some tired clichés to really stand out the way it could have but The First Power is nevertheless a pretty entertaining cops vs. serial killer movie with some interesting supernatural/Satanic twists. Resnikoff paces the movie quite well and keeps the action moving along at a good clip. The movie also builds quite well to a pretty satisfactory conclusion that proves to be effective even if, yeah, those aforementioned clichés do get in the way a little bit. The film also has an appropriately dark look to it that fits the story that Resnikoff and company are trying to tell here. There's good use of some interesting shadowy locations and the cinematography and lighting teams do an impressive job of balancing shadow and light in clever ways to create an eerie atmosphere in a few key scenes.

    As far as the performances go, the cast do a pretty decent job here. Lou Diamond Phillips does okay as the lead. He doesn't have the most range in the world but he handles the material here without any major issues. He's plays the tough guy well and if his chemistry with his wise-cracking partner (played by Mykelti Williamson) is hokey at best, he and Tracy Griffith make an alright team. Griffith herself is also fine in the part and a bit of a fox too, so she's a welcome addition. The real scene stealer in the movie, however, is Jeff Kober as the heavy. He's obviously having a good time with the part and does a great job of creating some palpable menace with his character. The work of the three leads, combined with a few decent supporting efforts and the right balance of action, horror and suspense make The First Power a fine way to kill an hour and a half at the movies.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The First Power arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc. This is a fairly dark movie for much of its running time but shadow detail is pretty strong here and black levels nice and deep. Detail and texture are nicely improved over the previous MGM DVD release from years back. You'll notice this in pretty much every frame. A few scenes look a little bit flat but this looks like how they were shot rather than a transfer issue and on top of that they are few and far between. Skin tones look nice and lifelike and the source material used for the transfer was in very nice shape as there's very little print damage at all. Compression artifacts are never a problem and there are no obvious issues to note with any noise reduction or obvious edge enhancement.

    The only audio option for the feature is an English language DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track. There are no alternate language options, subtitles or closed captioning options offered. Sound quality is fine. The levels are nicely balanced and the score has a pretty good sense of depth to it. Dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow and there are no issues with any audible hiss or distortion to note.

    The disc includes a theatrical trailer for the feature, an 88 Films trailer reel (with spots for Creepshow 2, Invasion U.S.A., River Of Death, Graduation Day, Sleepaway Camp 2, Sleepaway Camp 3, The Couch Trip, Cuba, Messenger Of Death and The Dead Next Door), menus and chapter selection. The disc also comes packaged with reversible cover art. Inside the red Blu-ray case is an insert booklet that contains an interview with Robert Reskinoff conducted by Phillip Escott in which he’s asked about making this particular film.

    The Final Word:

    The First Power isn't a masterpiece of modern horror but it is a pretty enjoyable thriller with some interesting twists and a great performance from Kober as the demented Satanic foil to Lou Diamond Phillips' tough guy cop. 88 Films’ Blu-ray release is light on extras but it looks and sounds quite good. Recommended for genre fans.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Scott's Avatar
      Scott -
      I've always liked this movie. Makes a good double feature with SHOCKER! Both involve satanic body jumping serial killers.