Remember M. Night Shyamalan's The Village? Wouldn’t it have been great if halfway through it, some cheap looking CGI thing showed up and bit off William Hurt’s head? Well, the folks at the SyFy Channel thought so, emptied the change in their pockets, and gave it to Steven Munroe to make Ogre.
Now most people understand how SyFy originals work. You hope for a Mansquito, and pray to God you don’t get an Alien Siege (Sorry, Bruce Campbell, but you know it’s true). Luckily, Ogre falls somewhere in between. John Schneider, Katharine Isabelle, and the rest of the cast play it straight. The effects are barely above World Of Warcraft quality, but not much worse than a rubber monster suit. And the plot holes are… okay, so there’s no excuse for the plot holes. The ogre is supposedly trapped by a mystical barrier, but the first time you see him he’s clearly walking around outside of it? The very first time? That’s just sloppy.
Still, the central idea of the villagers turning to magic to handle the plague decimating their town after medicine fails them is actually kind of interesting. It does leave you with a couple of questions though: (1) was having the virus metamorphose into a gut-munching sacrifice-demanding ogre really the best solution, and (2) why did they wait until almost everyone was dead before considering a non-scientific tactic?
Considering the amount of CGI blood spilled by the ogre, the answer to the first question is obviously… NO! As for the second, well, maybe it’s because, unlike the seventy-two disciples from this week’s gospel who went out to heal people and came back to Jesus exclaiming, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name", people in the 1850s era village were already suffering from what sociologist Max Weber described as “disenchantment”. To dreadfully oversimplify, Weber’s theory was that as science began to explain more things, people began to perceive the world as a less mystical place and value rational explanations over belief in unseen forces.
However, the irreligious Weber didn’t see this as an entirely positive development. The Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy notes that Weber felt disenchantment had “created a world with no objectively ascertainable ground for one's conviction. Under the circumstances… a modern individual tends to act only on one's own aesthetic impulse and express arbitrary convictions that cannot be communicated in the eventuality.” In short, Weber proposed that “disenchantment” had led to a society full of people who are both miserable and wishy-washy.
This was evidenced recently in some of the responses from non-believers who are mortified that Christians have begun praying for the health of terminally ill atheist guru, Christopher Hitchens. Their inexplicable hostility towards this simple act of good will says volumes about what their disenchanted world view has done to their psyches. In a certain sense, they are as ill as Hitchens himself. Let’s pray for them to.