The Devil Conspiracy Review: Perhaps The Best Movie Ever Made About Biotech Devil Worshippers Trying To Clone Jesus

Stop me if you've heard this one. A biotech company that also happens to be a devil-worshipping cult has been cloning famous historical figures and auctioning them off to wealthy bidders. The clones are still kids and in some cases babies, which means for a huge amount of money, someone can get their very own toddler Stravinsky or baby Michelangelo. Kind of like "Clone High," but evil. 

But here's the thing: cloning these historical geniuses isn't the cult's endgame. They plan on stealing the Shroud of Turin and using the blood stains on the supposedly holy artifact to clone Jesus Christ himself. But wait, there's more. Not only does the cult want to clone Jesus — they want to use the clone baby as the host for Lucifer himself. Yes, Satan is real, and so are angels, and the battle between Heaven and Hell is about to come to Earth!

That's the plot of "The Devil Conspiracy," possibly the best movie ever made about an evil biotech cult trying to clone Jesus. It's a wonderfully goofball action-horror mash-up that dabbles in religion in a surface way. Don't worry — this isn't one of those cringe-inducing Christian flicks like "God's Not Dead," nor does it require an understanding of the catechism. The film tells us all the religious stuff we need to know in a fantasy film opening in which the angel Michael (Peter Mensah) kicks Lucifer's ass and knocks him all the way down into Hell. "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven!" cries Lucifer (Joe Anderson) almost immediately after being imprisoned in the underworld. That's the spirit, Lucifer. Look on the bright side.

After this admittedly well-made opening, the budget for "The Devil Conspiracy" drops considerably — but the flick isn't nearly as cheap-looking as you might expect. Director Nathan Frankowski has a basic, uninspired point-and-shoot style, but the film's production design by Ondrej Lipensky is slick and often stylish enough to trick you into thinking you're watching a Hollywood blockbuster (you're not, I promise). 

Silly, silly fun

You might think the whole "angel fighting the devil in the afterlife" thing would be the main thrust of "The Devil Conspiracy," but oh no, that's just window dressing. The real meat and potatoes of the movie involve that clone-happy cult. The cult members are almost all interchangeable save for the demonic Liz (Evelyn Hall), who really leans into the whole "evil cultist" thing. After stealing the Shroud of Turin*, Liz and her minions kidnap art student Laura (Alice Orr-Ewing) and take her back to their hideout, a huge castle located at the exact spot where Satan crashed through the earth into hell (yes, really).

*Side-note: the Shroud, which is reported to contain the real image of Jesus, is on display in the movie, but it doesn't seem to be much of a draw. The crowd viewing it is decidedly small — I'd say barely 20 people, tops. I went to a Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum once that was so jam-packed with people I couldn't even move. You'd think a literal picture of Christ would draw the same sort of crowd. 

Alice also murders Laura's friend, a priest named Father Marconi (Joe Doyle). Marconi, who knows all about the war in heaven and the existence of angels, uses his dying breath to invite Michael to possess his body so he can save the world from the cult. Michael obliges because I guess he doesn't have anything better to do. This is all very, very silly, but the truth is I had fun watching "The Devil Conspiracy." It's so luridly goofy, and so straight-faced in its goofiness, that you kind of get swept up in it all. 

The film drags considerably — at one point I thought it was almost over only to realize there was a full hour left — but the over-the-top religious hokum is too fun to ignore. At times I was reminded of the much-better "The Prophecy," in which Christopher Walken, sporting hair the color of shoe polish, played an evil version of the angel Gabriel. But "The Devil Conspiracy" is really a hodge-podge of ideas pulled from other movies — "The Boys From Brazil," "Rosemary's Baby," "The Exorcist," and more. It's less of its own thing and more of a pastiche, but it's a pastiche that will entertain you as you shake your head at all the supreme silliness. Amen.

/Film Rating: 6 out of 10