Onyx The Fortuitous And The Talisman Of Souls Review

SCREAMBOX Original Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls drops on November 14. Re-Animator stars Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton reunite alongside Andrew Bowser’s viral internet character in a horror-comedy in the spirit of Beetlejuice, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, and Ernest Scared Stupid.

I’m very old.

“Viral Internet Character” are words that I all understand, but as I settled in to watch Onyx The Fortuitous And The Talisman Of Souls, I can honestly say I’ve never heard of this character or the Internet star behind him before in my life. So I’m sure that’s on me; I’m just out of touch. I do watch a lot of YouTube, but it’s clearly not the same material that the kids these days are watching.

For instance, I’ve been checking out a lot of CollegeHumor / Dropout.TV videos the last month or so. They are funny and entertaining–I have been loving the Dimension 20 Dungeons & Dragons style RPG playthroughs–but I guess they aren’t skits or shorts about actors taking on a character or what-have-you. So what I’m watching just isn’t what is hip.

Onyx The Fortuitous is a character created and played by Andrew Bowser. He has a very pronounced inflection to his voice, and based on this movie, I assume he is just a loser dude working as a burger flipper but dreaming of a bigger, more fantastical life for himself. I went to Wikipedia hoping to get some more information on the character, but Bowser’s page doesn’t really have any details, so all of my knowledge for Onyx comes from this movie I just watched!

Although here is something of note that I have found: Bowser has worked with CollegeHumor before, back in 2010! So look at that; I’m only thirteen-ish years behind where this guy was in his career at one point. I have not seen him in any of the videos or segments I’ve enjoyed yet.

Onyx The Fortuitous And The Talisman Of Souls tells the story of Onyx–actual name Marcus; he wants people to call him by his much cooler adopted identity of Onyx The Fortuitous, but few do–winning a contest with four others to meet their idol, Bartok, at the latter’s mansion. Under Bartok, they all plan to study the path of demons and gain immortality.

To the shock of no viewers, it turns out the master who claims to be a student of a dark lord can not be trusted, as Bartok has gathered these five individuals for his own sinister purposes. Using emerald peridot charms to control his pupils, Bartok plans to seal their souls into an ancient Talisman (conveniently long buried on his own property!) and then summon the demon Abaddon to conquer the world.

Marcus accidentally spies Bartok and his minion, Farrah, enact the beginning of his plan and kill one of the five guests, and from there it’s up to him and his new friends–his first ever friends–to stop the would-be overlord from finalizing his plan and bringing about hell on Earth.

TWO UPS AND TWO DOWNS

+This movie was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that netted between $600,000 and $700,000. Aside from that, I could not find any additional budget information. Regardless, this was clearly not a big-budget flick. And yet, it certainly looks and sounds like it! The camerawork and quality are unimpeachable, and the audio is right there with it. The movies doesn’t have too many different settings, but the sets they have look realistic. The puppets brought into play as various demons or undead are distinctive and well-made.

Bowser absolutely got his money’s worth making this project, and it shows. I’ve seen movies with budgets much more than what this raised, and they don’t look half as good.

+Andrew Bowser put everything he had into this film. He wrote it. He directed it. He is the star. I’m sure a fair bit of that was to save money (especially in direction), but poured himself into the movie, and you can feel his love and passion through the screen. His performance is going at 150 miles per hour last all times, and the story is certainly not lazy (though it may be overlong… more on that in a moment). He does great work being the sun around which everything here revolved.

-Aren’t viral video sensations known for their brevity? Get in, get your yucks, and get out. It’s a pretty simple idea; you just don’t overstay your welcome. Not here, as Onyx The Fortuitous And The Talisman Of Souls has a runtime almost as long as its title. The movie streeeeeetches itself out to 110 minutes with lingering shots and a whole lot of Marcus and his friends finding clues around the manor and deciphering their meanings. There’s simply no reason for this movie to be as long as it is.

Andrew Bowser is also credited as the editor of the flick, and I get it. I do. It’s hard to cut apart your own work. He wrote it, he directed it, and I’m sure he felt like everything included was necessary. But it would definitely have helped to bring another editor on board to trim this down about twenty minutes to get a much more manageable watch out of this extended length viral video.

-Aren’t viral video sensations also known for their humor? Because, and I hate knocking something that maybe I just don’t “get” since I’m not familiar with the source material, nothing here was particularly funny. It tries to be funny! It wants to be funny, and it by its own admission references films like Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and Ernest Scared Stupidas inspiration. But outside of a particular dream sequence, very little here is going to get you to laugh audibly.

It feels like the one big joke is in the way Bowser’s Marcus delivers lines, and you’re either someone who thinks that is uproariously funny, or you are not. I was in the latter. There were a plethora of jokes about Marcus’ virginity, also, which again: you either love them, or you are wading through dozens of bits that don’t land.

OVERALL

It outstays its welcome with its runtime, and the humor seems very targeted to its built-in audience and not the viewer at-large, but as far as Kickstarted passion projects go, it looks amazingly professional. Bowser clearly has the talent and the ability to make feature length films, but it would probably do to bring in some other talent to help with some of the behind-the-scenes aspects.

2 / 5

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