It’s been a while since I’ve seen any genuinely terrible movies, ones that made me visibly cringe or laugh out loud in my seat. And admittedly, Let There Be Light, Kevin Sorbo’s (of Hercules fame, which the film oh-so-cleverly points out by having a poster belonging to his character read "Hercules: More Real Than God?" Har har har) ludicrous mess of a faith-based drama, isn’t quite as laughable as 2014’s Left Behind movie, or badly made as all those movies on the PureFlix channel (see my review of The Shack to find out why I would even watch them in the first place). But still, it comes really close at times. Really, really close.
The plot: Backed up by a stereotypical (and annoying) British assistant, a stereotypical atheist professor rails against Christianity because his son died of childhood cancer (and because, in his own words, “Nobody ever committed genocide in the name of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll!”–actual line, I swear), but, after unsuccessfully trying to hook up with a stereotypical Russian bimbo who’s always whining about her “bikini shoots in the Bahamas”, gets in a car accident and briefly sees aforementioned son again in what looks like a really bad drug trip, only to continue drinking himself into oblivion afterwards until finally getting converted by a stereotypical Italian pastor who uses words like “whacked” and “ratted on” to describe the story of Jesus’s resurrection, after which this atheist character does such a sudden flip from a stereotypical “worst guy in the world” to a stereotypical “best guy in the world” that it honestly felt more like split personality disorder than a genuine change of attitude. Oh, and did I mention that there were lots of stereotypes?
Also, aided by Fox News anchor Sean Hannity (yes, playing himself), he devises a plan to have everybody point their cell phone flashlights at the sky to combat ISIS or something (9/11 footage is shown over the opening credits for absolutely no reason other than to be tacky and exploitative at all), because that’s what his dead son apparently meant when he said–you guessed it–“Let there be light” to him in heaven. And yes, that’s just as unintentionally hilarious as it sounds like.
Look, I know there are people out there who like these kinds of movies, and I know just what their reaction is gonna be to a review like this, so I have this to say to them: Good for you. Really, I mean it. However, that’s not going to make me sugarcoat the following statement at all, no matter how many complaint emails I may get as a result: Let There Be Light is a tremendously bad movie in pretty much every single way possible. I say “pretty much” because a cancer subplot that pops up later is almost kinda sweet, I guess (even if it is just as forced and blatantly manipulative as everything else here), but that’s about all the positive things I have to say here.
For starters, as you may have already guessed from the summary I provided above, absolutely nothing in this movie is believable (pun intended). Nothing. Not a single scene, not a single moment, not even a single line of dialogue, really (“You look like heck” is a remark actually made by one character. Because clearly, saying the word “hell” in a Christian movie would be a complete crime against humanity, even if doing otherwise makes zero sense in the context of the situation). Just… nothing.
In, say, a ridiculously over-the-top sci-fi or action movie, that wouldn’t be as much of a problem, although it would still be irritating. In an allegedly “serious” drama that takes on big issues such as religion and terrorism, that’s a very big problem indeed. Remember how absurdly quick the main character’s shift from “evil” to “wonderful” was? Well, what if I was to tell you that the script not only completely forgot about his little drinking problem (you know, the thing I had to watch him suffer from for about the last hour or so) after that, but also showed him taking a casual sip of wine at a restaurant not that long afterwards. With zero issues. Or explanations, for that matter. Guess the screenwriters–Dam Gordon and Sam Sorbo–felt it was more important to proselytize to audiences than fix gigantic continuity errors such as these. Yay.
What else do I have to talk about here? Let’s see, Sorbo’s directorial style wasn’t interesting at all, the music varied between boring and just plain awful, the acting was mostly as wooden as a bedpost, the occasional comedy was far more strained than funny, and the special effects were obviously not that great. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that the film as a whole edges dangerously near the realms of “Hilariocity”, and even though it doesn’t quite get there (something to either be happy or angry about, depending on what your tastes in film are), it is still highly recommended to those who love cracking up at really bad movies. I know I was.