Let's be honest.
There is a certain lowering of expectations that occurs when one picks up a film being distributed by those fine folks at Cheezy Flicks, purveyors of some of the best and worst B-movies around. When it comes to reviewing B-movies, it's not really so much about how many stars a film receives as it is "Does the film accomplish what it sets out to do?"
Will B-movie fans enjoy it? Is it fun? Is it campy? Is it so bad it's good?
Once in awhile, however, Cheezy Flicks actually tosses out a bit of a surprise by picking up and distributing a film that is, if not exactly good, actually much better than you might expect.
1999's No Rest for the Wicked is a perfect example. By no means a masterpiece, No Rest for the Wicked is definitely a "better than you expect" kind of film with a surprisingly involving story and performances that convince a lot more than one usually gets from this type of film.
The film centers around Father William (Stefan Lysenko), a Catholic priest haunted by his past life that includes a tour of duty in Vietnam. Having promised God that he would become a priest if he survived the war, Father William honors that promise but it fails to give him the hoped for serenity when experiences the killing of his best buddy. As he investigates his friend's death, he is lured into an increasingly surreal world by Angelica (Carla Sofia Lescius) and what he encounters forces him to examine his life, his faith, and corruption within his beloved church.
While Lysenko does a decent enough job, it's really the bad guys who shine in No Rest for the Wicked including William Smith as a mobster, Robert Z'Dar as Dino, who provides the film with some early on comic relief, and former 70's cinematic fixtures Timothy Bottoms and Jan-Michael Vincent are here in performances that will either remind you how good they actually were or may serve as reminders of why their careers headed south. Joe Estevez, a frequent collaborator with director/co-writer John Sjogren, also does his usual top notch job.
Sjogren and William Buzick III share lensing credits for the film and, indeed, the film's camera work is a particular delight. James Lifton and Jeff Sturges contribute the film's excellent musical vibe, while even Frederick Stuhr's production design deserves a tip o' the hat.
No Rest for the Wicked isn't a brilliant film, the dialogue occasionally falls flat and the story does wander a bit, but it's definitely a good enough film that it may make you want to check out the rest of Sjogren's indie flicks including 2013's Jet Set.
For more information on the film, be sure to visit the Cheezy Flicks website!
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic