The Movie Diary
September 18, 2015

The end is near 

The end is near 

By Dom Cioffi

Are you ready? Well, you better be because the world is about to end.

I’m not joking. An asteroid is headed toward the earth and on Sept. 28 it is going to impact our planet, destroying infrastructure on an epic scale and causing a mass extinction not seen since the age of the dinosaurs.

I know this as fact not because the major governments of the world have issued a warning nor because NASA has been tracking the asteroid for years and finally decided to tell us. No, I’m basing this upon yet another crackpot religious theory that’s been cobbled together from relating unique celestial events to obscure biblical passages.

Let me explain: The newest doomsday scenario is based on what “experts” are calling the Blood Moon Prophecy. In this prophecy (first made popular by two Christian ministers), the end of times will be ushered forth because of an ongoing “tetrad,” which is when four consecutive lunar eclipses have six full moons in between.

I’m not lying. Google it.

Proponents argue that these events are referenced in two biblical passages: Acts 2:20, “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord” and Revelation 6:12, “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.”

I mean, it’s pretty obvious right? How do you argue with that logic? We’re clearly doomed.

As much as this may seem like a joke, enough people have contacted NASA that the space agency decided to release a statement addressing the growing concern of an extraterrestrial strike: “NASA knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small,” said a spokesperson. “In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.”

NASA bases these conclusions on information gathered from Sentry, an automated collision monitoring system, which continually scans an “asteroid catalog” for the possibility of an impact.

But honestly, whom should we believe? Should we put our faith in science and the technology running supercomputers designed to address these exact concerns? Or should we instead draw wildly broad conclusions between texts written two thousand years ago and curious things happening in the sky?

Tough call, especially when you’re dealing with the end of the world.

Personally, when Sept. 28 arrives, I’m not going to expel one ounce of anxiety on the Blood Moon Prophecy. I may, however, try to stay awake so I can witness the grandeur of an actual blood moon.

For those who are interested, a blood moon is a spectacular lunar effect caused by the reflection of sunlight on the Earth’s atmosphere, which appears red to the naked eye. The blood moon acquires a golden, copper, or even rusty-red color depending on where the sun is, usually when it’s low in the sky or near the horizon.

I’ve always loved gazing at the night sky, whether it’s looking at the expansive Milky Way, scanning for a shooting star, or picking out the various constellations. However, of all the things to see at night, nothing compares to a gigantic full moon as it first pokes over the horizon.

My brother has always claimed that the full moon makes him feel different, that he can feel the lunar effect in the core of his body. I’ve also heard that arrests go up during a full moon and that psychiatric hospitals see an increase in patient problems. If that’s the case, I suppose we should be thankful that the moon is only full a dozen times a year!

In this week’s feature, “The Visit,” we meet an elderly couple who are definitely being influenced by something strange – whether or not their issues stem from the moon remain to be seen.

“The Visit” centers around two young children who spend a week at their grandparents’ rural farm. What transpires during their visit runs from the odd to the diabolical.

Director M. Night Shyamalan is known for his twisted storylines and “Oh my God!” moments, both of which are well represented in “The Visit.” But while this film did offer several bizarre plot twists and seat-jumping thrills, it still failed to register as a true psychological thriller, mostly because it catered to a younger audience.

Even with these shortcomings, I still remain faithful to Shyamalan’s work and his artistic use of implied fear. Too often, today’s films resort to gruesome scare tactics to garner a reaction from the audience. Shyamalan may use an old-school approach, but it is still very effective.

Check this one out if you’re a fan of Shyamalan’s work or if you’re in the mood to spend and hour and a half on edge.

An unnerving “C+” for “The Visit.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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