Reviewed by: Ken James
Cloud Ten Pictures is best known for its productions of “Left Behind—The Movie” and the “Apocalypse” film series (“Apocalypse,” “Revelation,” “Tribulation,” and “Judgment”). Judging by the titles above, you can see that this Canadian Christian film company has focused a lot on end-times films. But their most recent releases have thankfully strayed: “Waterproof” (starring Burt Reynolds) and “Miracle of the Cards” have nothing to do with biblical prediction and prophecy. “Deceived” is mixed. It doesn’t scream “end-times”, yet the sci-fi supernatural theme certainly has those undertones.
Sci-fi-loving Christians will feel at home with “Deceived”. In fact, many will recognize Michelle Nolden, Deborah Odell, and Ramona Milano from TV’s “Earth: Final Conflict,” “Relic Hunter,” and other shows. The cast is impressive and does a fine job at acting in this film. Camerawork and overall feel of this production are also quite good.
Emmett Shaw (Stewart Bick) is a billionaire who has invited an intimate group to visit his remote observatory in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Their plan: to break one of the biggest news stories in history to the world via webcast. Signs of extraterrestrial life have been received and Journalist Kara Walsh (Deborah Odell), spiritual adviser Reverend Fletcher (Jefferson Mappin), techie Jack Jones (Judd Nelson of “The Breakfast Club” fame), and Program Director Smitty (Michelle Nolden), are all part of the team that will first tell the stunned public.
At the Pentagon, Colonel Garrett (Louis Gossett Jr., “An Officer and a Gentleman”) is heading up a top-secret experiment looking for a way to tap into supernatural power through ESP, meditation and other New Age philosophies. His goal is to make the U.S. an indestructible force that will usher in an age of peace upon the globe. Hearing of the signals received at the observatory and believing his experiments to be somehow related, he takes a military team into the Sierra Nevadas to take charge of the operation and harness the power.
Once Shaw’s team arrives just before an approaching storm, they find the two men who were manning the location mysteriously disappeared. They begin investigating when Colonel Garrett’s team arrives, takes command, and places Shaw’s team under house arrest. Tensions run high, and when each of the team members tries to listen to the alleged E.T. signal, the bizarre actions begin. Only one Christian in the group, Smitty, has the spiritual discernment to know what is actually behind the signals. Is it really from outer space? She’s convinced it’s not, but warning the others proves to be a formidable task.
This film is not for younger audiences or those who do not like any violence. There are several jump scenes (i.e. suspenseful and scary). Language consists of one “damn” uttered from the career military Colonel. After hearing the supernatural message, journalist Kara Walsh makes several romantic passes toward Shaw, Jack, and the Colonel. The violence mentioned above consists of some arguments, several shootings with bloody results, a hanging, and paranormal activity utilized by a female military lieutenant who uses it to oppose, frighten, and ultimately kill those who oppose her.
Director André van Heerden says: “It’s going to be very interesting to see how people react to “Deceived”. It’s definitely dark and suspenseful like “Revelation”, but it’s also edgier and more intense. While “Revelation” may hold the audience’s interest because of its central mystery, “Deceived” holds it because of the characters. There is a mystery to the picture, as well as elements of romance, comedy, and horror; but the characters are what are so intriguing. Since the characters become so familiar to us, I think many people are going to be drawn into the tale more than any other film we’ve done.” I would agree with this statement. If you’re looking for an inoffensive production where Christian values are taught, an agnostic becomes a believer, and it’s just plain fun viewing, this may be the pick for you.
Year of Release—2002