March 24, 2023


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The Last Supper (2022) - movie review

The Last Supper (2022) – movie review

It is likely that Bartosz M. Kowalski single-handedly decided to remake domestic horror films after years of stagnation. After two parts of the series “Nobody sleeps in the woods today”, this time she presented a horror film with a completely different atmosphere. No mutated beings have a passion for murder or a group of teens turned bloody victims over and over again. Instead, there is a dark monastery, grim monks and Beelzebub. Polish cinematography was enriched with diabolical horror.

Although it must be emphasized right away that this is not the first attempt by Polish filmmakers in this genre, because the tradition of placing the character of the devil in our cinema is long – just mention Andrzej Żuławski’s “The Devil” or even Jerzy Kawalerowicz “The Mother of Jeanne Angels” . Although “The Last Supper” is much closer to “Tears of the Prince of Darkness” by Marek Bistrack. Here we have occult rituals, a full Satanic crew, plenty of kitsch and even more campgrounds (although not necessarily, in the case of conscious Bistrack lore).

And like “The Tear of the Prince of Darkness”, Kowalski’s movie has a script that is utterly ridiculous in which we can’t find a gram of meaning, consistency, and subtlety of craftsmanship. Who knows if that was the premise – breaking out of the strict framework of storytelling instructions, destroying all sacred rules and focusing entirely on creating the atmosphere, shocking viewers with rude images and preparing delicious food (although in the context of this film it is quite a controversial term) An epilogue that cannot be found in contemporary Polish cinematography. If this is the creative idea, then I bow my head, because it was successful to the last detail.

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The events take place in the late 80s, although it could have been so, for example in the Middle Ages. Besides, the creators are doing a lot to make the scene suggest transcend time. The main character – a policeman acting in the guise of a monk – ends up in an old monastery where there is no electricity or other benefits of modernity. The soundtrack is filled with the creaking of old doors and the groans of the floor reminiscent of centuries ago. The picture is lit by candles scattered everywhere, which create an atmosphere of horror and strangeness. When we add the cries of the haunted – we’re at a monastery that specializes in exorcism for those who are troubled by the devil – we have the complimenting atmosphere of the classic horror movie with evil in the main role.

And with all these associations, clichés and stereotypes, Kowalski plays a fascinating role. Exorcism scene? he is. A mysterious ritual? be. Hallucinations, dark visions? naturally. Interestingly, the overall repetition of the plot does not bother you – simply because it does not exist. The creators do not care about the logic of the text at all. Do we know anything about the main character Militia Mark? Nothing makes us follow his fate in horror. Will meaningful props like the camcorder play any role in the plot? Let’s not expect too much. Or maybe the supporting characters act purposefully and thanks to that will push the action forward? None of these things. Creators don’t even bother to build tension which can result in even a bit of horror.

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The authors prefer to focus on rudeness, powerful images, shocking disgust and stress with loud music. The strongest stimuli and sensations are calculated. And you have to admit they are great at it. Dirty monastery creates a wonderful spectacle of mysterious events. Atmospheric candles illuminate the gloom of the damp monks’ cells, adding to the anxiety. Although the most impressive thing is…the food – pints are conical, pints and swirling in the mouth, almost making you vomit.

When we are exhausted by darkness, on purpose, Class B, kitsch in every atmosphere, then all of a sudden the absolutely meaningless plot loses its meaning. Power is captured by images: flies coming out of the teeth, tangled tangles pulled from the throat, disgusting eyeballs stuck in the cloak of holes in the wall. Do these props have any justification for the plot? No – but who would care.

Especially as work is rushing towards a quick fix and it must be admitted that it is worth delving into all the absurdities of this story. The closer we get to the end, the more power the film has over the image, which has a few sordid attractions intended for viewers. Thus, Kowalski became known, once again, as an author full of visual invention, manifested in the creative construction of the amazing and brutal. At the same time, he is able to repeatedly emphasize the traditionalism of history and undermine the artificial seriousness with the help of a delicious and sometimes completely unexpected sense of humor. He was helped in this by the actors of the main roles, especially Olaf Lobaszenko and Sebastian Stankovic, whose presence on the screen almost from the very beginning heralded a huge dose of distance.

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Of the recent Polish films “The Last Supper”, it is probably the one closest to Jagoda Zielek’s “The Tower. Bright Day” – it also introduces the metaphysical theme, drawing from the horror tradition and evoking the apocalyptic atmosphere of cinema. However, unlike the author of “Monument,” Kowalski is completely unconcerned with artistic cinema, subtle metaphors, complex psychological relationships between characters, or social commitment. His message is limited to what is more popular, effective and literal. Without any understatement, it plays with cinema tradition from the lowest rental shelves of VHS. And he ruthlessly pushes us into the clutches of bad cinema.