Dancing, Cancer, and Forced Religious Conversion

Low quality Satan for a low quality film

It’s no secret that Christian media is widely considered to be pretty terrible. I don’t blame the religion itself for this, as the blame sits squarely on the shoulders of creators who attempt to make things without the proper skills or knowledge.

Just because you really love going to church doesn’t mean that you have the talent to write a song or book, or even make a movie.

“C Me Dance” is possibly the scariest piece of Christian cinema I have ever seen and not because it was intended to be frightening. No. It is scary because it lets us see inside the mind of its creator and how almost violently he believes in conversion.

Before I get onto that, though, I want to talk about why this movie is an absolute disaster. See, not only does it have a premise dreamed up by a maniac, it also is a complete failure on a technical level.

When the movie started, I originally thought that all the dialogue in the film was dubbed over because people’s lips seemed to not match their voice. Later on, I noticed that this was just a de-sync issue because the lips were always matching up, just an instant later.

How is this a problem in this 2009 film? Syncing up the audio was one of the earliest innovations in filmmaking that brought clap boards into the industry.

If you ever see a behind-the-scenes shot of a film, you will know that every scene begins and ends with a clapper board being shut loudly while displaying the scene and take. This is done to sync up the audio so that sounds happen exactly when you would expect them to on screen, but apparently the sound crew of this movie messed that up because the sounds are off for the entire film.

Not only are the voices out of sync, they’re just bad in general. All of the female actors in the film are much older than the characters they portray, so to make themselves seem younger, they all talk in an incredibly grating high-pitch tone. It sounds really bad, and none of the girls are able to talk in a way that makes them seem like actual human beings.

This doesn’t excuse the work of the men in the movie, though, because they are bad in a different way.

At one point in the film, a narrator begins talking over the scene to give the audience some information (which is just a bad idea for this type of film in the first place), but when he speaks he doesn’t enunciate enough, meaning he is almost impossible to understand. He sounds like he’s mumbling into a microphone across the room. It makes me so angry because they had an entire scene devoted to this narrator talking, and they messed it up.

The worst part of this movie, though — worse than its film work or acting — is its plot. The movie follows a high school aged ballet dancer as she learns that she has cancer. Everyone in the school then begins to bully her because of her cancer.

No, that is not an exaggeration.

These totally real human beings bullied a fellow classmate who was dying of cancer.

Has the writer ever seen another human being outside of church? All of the Christians in the movie treat her nicely, but everyone who isn’t a Christian is written as just the worst human being on the planet.

Her classmates end up assaulting her in broad daylight in the middle of a wealthy suburb, where they get beaten up by her dad attempting to save her.

That whole debacle ends with her learning that she has been given a mysterious power from God to convert people just by touching them.

When she pulls one of the boys away from her father, he falls to his knees, begins crying and whispers, “save me.” I have to give it to the guy — his acting during that was great, but how in the world did the writer think that was a moral power to have?

The power to forcibly convert someone to your religion despite their past beliefs and life experience. How does that even work? Your connection with religion is created though your own experiences in life, but apparently this power just completely ignores that and makes you the most devout Christian ever.

After her father learns of this power she has, he sets her up to speak at two events in order to convert the attendees (even though she just talks and doesn’t touch them). One is a battle of the bands which was really obviously shot in one of those auditorium-style churches. The music they play is awful, and none of the crowd seems genuinely enthused, but at the end of it all, the main girl just wanders up onto stage and talks to them.

It then immediately cuts to her trying to convince the priest of her local church to let her give the sermon that Sunday, and he just immediately agrees because it was obviously the will of God.

She then begins her sermon to a disgruntled congregation, one of whom says, “I’ve been going to this church for 30 years; what can a kid teach me?” Not even a minute into the sermon, that same man begins crying, walking into the aisle and staring at the cross hanging from the ceiling. I guess somehow, without any evidence, we were supposed to believe that he wasn’t a “real” Christian.

After this, comes the stupidest scene in the whole movie, where the father and preacher walk into the room with newspapers in hand, lay them on the table and then say that rape and murder in the area are down 89% and that the porn industry is failing.

Excuse me, what?

Yeah, apparently 89% of all rapes and murders were committed by the people at the two events. Part of me wonders why they put this scene after the church scene because this implies that some of those crimes were committed by the church goers and not just the rockers.

Were they trying to subtly throw shade at members of that church, or was it just absolutely incompetent writing? Probably the latter.

The porn part just gives me flashbacks to another awful movie from Lifetime, but I’ll get to that another time.

Now this movie felt that it needed an antagonist, and not just in a metaphorical sense. I guess cancer wasn’t good enough because they actually have Satan chase the main character around in an attempt to make her stray from God. When he is in his own form, he is a creepy-looking guy with horrible CGI irises, wearing a black leather trench coat.

Now, I watched this movie with friends, and they said he was wearing a duster, so I’m going to set the record straight.

A duster is a western style of coat worn in arid environments to keep the sun off of the body and dust off of their normal clothes. A duster can easily be identified by its split in the back so it can be worn while horseback and its loose layer of the fabric around the shoulders, similar to a poncho.

A trench coat, on the other hand, is worn in cold, wet environments and was originally worn in the trenches of World War I. It is solid in the back and worn tighter to the body to provide warmth. Congrats, you now know something that will never be useful to you.

The final scene of this movie is so stupid.

After converting the whole planet by televising the event (which she convinced the television companies to do with her power), everything calms down. It’s Christmas time, and the TV is talking about how there isn’t enough room in the churches for all the people who wish to worship. Her father tells her she can go open her presents and tells his girlfriend (his daughter’s nurse) that she can too. The nurse walks into the room and then screams, and we learn that the main character has finally succumbed to the cancer that has been killing her slowly throughout the whole film. The dad walks in, holds her in his arms and shouts “we did everything you asked” into the sky.

With that wording, I can only imagine God as some mafia boss.

I rate movies from 10 to -10, with a negative score meaning enjoyable yet bad. This movie gets a -5 because despite there being many scenes and plot points that had me howling in laughter, the rest of the movie was just boring to sit through. It doesn’t help that the plot is almost insulting to non-Christians.

I would not recommend watching this movie unless you have some friends and something to do during the low parts, like cards or a board game.

This week, I want to give a shout out to the clap board. This simple device has been useful throughout the entire history of cinema production. Nothing but some wood, a hinge and some paint led to a device that makes editing the movie much easier than it could be. It helps identify scenes and takes, helps sync the audio and provides an easy cue to the actors and the crew that filming is starting.

This article was originally written for The University of Tennessee’s Daily Beacon’s Bad Movie Showcase.

Editing done by Evan Newell

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