The Good Book VHS

Reality Bites

Whoever said the cinema is about ideas? Here we have a film with what is so often the critics best friend: a fresh concept.

In this low budget independent effort, the world of the future is presented (via the ever-present sci-fi cliche: opening title cards) as a place where everyone huddles in their homes addicted to the internet. Everything is controlled by one world government, and those that dare to live outside soon decay into zombie-like mutant critters. Well, unless it’s their job to go outside, of course. Somebody has to go fix the computers.

One such repair dude is Joe Cyrus (Brian Campbell), a former hacker that got his job after getting busted for inventing viruses. While driving around fixing PCs and fending off zombies, Joe starts having “visitations” from a messianic stranger that claims to be God the Creator (Barry Gerdson). God wants Joe to use the supervirus he’s created to (dum tum DUMMM) destroy the internet!

These manifestations happen more and more frequently – even interrupting his viewing of NetTV’s lame bimbo vampire movies (a jab at distributor E.I.Independent’s staple sub-genre). His erratic behavior comes to the attention of Joe’s boss Kern (Alan Ambron), who bears a personal grudge from their mutual hacker days, and starts to make things rough. Of course, God ain’t who he claims to be – don’t believe anybody that tells you he’s a supreme being – and goes out of his way to clear his servant’s path by killing Kern. This backfires, as Joe becomes the prime suspect in the murder investigation, and the government goons come after him.

Matthew Giaquinto proves himself a capable and talented writer and director, but this is one of those films that’s just too big for its budget. When he’s shooting zombie action out in the woods – including fighting, chases and such – things go very well, but interior shots show off the fact very plainly that this is not the world of the future. Cars, appliances, and especially the computers look like garage sale cast-offs. The fact that it’s all shot on video doesn’t help – it’s technically well shot, for what it is, but video features can only look so good, and the dialogue is hard to hear.

The factor that really could have used a few more dollars is in the casting. Campbell is just passable in the lead, but others don’t fare so well. Worst of all is the performance of Giaquinto’s partner Barry Gerdson – in a role that calls for power and presence, he looks like something from one of John Waters’ ’70s features. Following tradition, everybody doubles up as zombies. Special mention should go to the acting coups of getting AMC’s Bob Dorian to act as host of Download Theater.

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One Response to The Good Book VHS

  1. Matthew Giaquinto says:

    Just stumbled upon this very old review lol
    now what is truly funny is the script we wrote for this movie is coming true.
    We just put it up on You Tube for free.
    Some decent ideas, even won some awards but for the most part, 1997 audiences weren’t quite ready as the internet was still in its infancy.
    But it did help my career and allowed me to go on to work with Raimi, Carpenter and even Spielberg, so it’s been a wild ride!
    Thought you might be interested!

    Matt Giaquinto

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