A melodramatic prologue gives us an early illustration of what "The Cloth" are all about: a noisy, somewhat plagiaristic exorcism results in vomit, blood and spider-walking Ö not to mention the death of one of the worldís most respected exorcists, Father Connelly (Danny Trejo).

Fast-forward an unspecified amount of time, and we meet Jason (Kyler Willett). Heís a bit of a lad, as our first experience of him shows: heís first found chatting up a woman at a nightclub. The next morning, he awakens to her sleeping beside him in his bed.

Unfortunately, the pair are not alone in his apartment: heís got a visitor in the form of Father Diekmen (Lassiter Holmes). Diekmen wants Jason to become a member of The Cloth, a secret society set up by the Catholic Church in a bid to rid the world of the ever-growing problem of demonic possession.

Being more into his fast cars and loose women, seemingly financially independent Jason isnít interested in such offers. But he goes along with Diekmen anyway: first to learn forgiveness by witnessing the courtroom acquittal of the man who killed his family, and then to Diekmenís church.

Said church is not your average place of worship. No sir, this one has secret compartments built into its walls which hide kick-ass weapons (a gun that shoots Holy water, anyone?). Thereís also a hidden tunnel which goes beneath the church, leading straight to the heart of The Clothís dealings. Itís here that Jason is introduced to pretty Laurel (Perla Rodriguez), who clues him in some more about the role of their sect.

Further exposition comes with the introduction of weapons expert Helix (Cameron White). Between him and Laurel, thereís a good 10 minutes of background detail waffled out.

Itís through them that we learn of Kasdeya (writer-director Justin Price), who is actually Satan in human form. Heís come to Earth and has seven days to claim as many lost souls as he possibly can. The first two belong to hookers who he has fun with in a hotel room.

So, Jason Ė Diekmenís "chosen one" for reasons that only become clear later into proceedings Ė has just one week to be indicted into The Cloth by sceptical senior member Tollman (Eric Roberts), track down Kasdeya and save the planet.

THE CLOTH is a disgrace. The screenplay is over the place, peppered as it is with the most laughably risible dialogue imaginable and no sense of continuity whatsoever. Is it a serious meditation or a comedy? Someone tell Price, because he doesnít seem to know. The horror scenes donít horrify, the concept is cribbed from the likes of CONSTANTINE and THE NINTH GATE (both vastly superior Ė yes, even the Keanu Reeves one), and the CSI-style aesthetics are as irritating as they are clumsily framed. Donít even get me started on the crappy computer graphic "effects".

Then thereís the acting. If you can call it that. I seem to have seen a lot of poor performances lately, but the cast of THE CLOTH really do take the biscuit. Willett is almost joyfully bad as the uncharismatic lead; Holmes and White seem to be competing for worst performance ever Ė the sheer awfulness of their Ďactingí is, quite literally, jaw-dropping. I can only assume that Price is a really nice man and therefore too polite to whip these people into line.

Which sort of makes me feel guilty for slamming his film. But Iíve got to be honest: itís rubbish. Oh, and if youíre still tempted by the inclusion of Trejo and Roberts, donít be. Trejo does appear later in the film via flashbacks, but both men are effectively cameo performers Ė and Roberts looks bored out of his mind.

Iím almost tempted to rewatch THE CLOTH, or form some kind of sadistic drinking game out of it. It really is that bad, on pretty much every level.

Metrodome are releasing the film onto UK DVD and blu-ray. A DVD-R screener was provided for review purposes.

Iím sure this screener disc canít possibly be indicative of whatís being released into shops. The picture quality was horrible, with washed out and noisy visuals and a pillar-boxed presentation which put thick black bars around all four sides of the screen. Dull and ugly, it really did the film no favours. As I say though, Iím confident that this disc doesnít accurately reflect what potential buyers will see. Which makes my job of reviewing the DVD a little difficult!

On the plus side, the English 2.0 audio was okay.

No menus or extras on the screener disc either, so thatís something else I unfortunately canít comment upon.

Not that it matters. Iíd wipe my arse with THE CLOTH if I didnít think it would end up with more shit on it as a result.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Metrodome Distribution
Region 2 PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review