Yesterday, I saw a movie poster circulating on Twitter. It was a promotional poster for a new Christian film from Germany, entitled 2o25: The World Enslaved by a Virus. The poster was already going viral by the time I saw it, but no one in the comments had yet watched the film, which apparently just came out this month. I was intrigued, because I have a lurid hobby of watching and reviewing films marketed to Evangelical Christians, so I decided to give it a spin. At one hour and thirty minutes, it did not take long.
I hardly know where to begin.
I made a name for myself, insofar as I have one, by reviewing God’s Not Dead 2. And believe me when I say, God’s Not Dead 2 is Citizen Kane compared to 2025: The World Enslaved By A Virus.
Later that year I got a Pure Flix subscription and reviewed The Book of Esther. And I can state with no exaggeration that The Book of Esther is an epic like unto Cecil B. Demille’s The Ten Commandments compared to 2025: The World Enslaved By A Virus.
I reviewed The Encounter: Paradise Lost and declared it the worst of all. But The Encounter: Paradise Lost is an existentialist masterpiece on par with Solaris or 2001: A Space Odyssey compared with 2025: The World Enslaved By A Virus.
I feel that I’m not making my point strongly enough.
If you want to watch the movie yourself, I’ve saved you some trouble. I watched the whole thing and live tweeted it so you can have a play-by-play. You can thank me later.
2025: The World Enslaved By A Virus is a dystopian film written, produced and directed by the Wesely Brothers, and no, I’m not talking about the founders of the Methodist Church. I’m talking about two men named Wesely from Germany, Josh and his brother Simon. Josh and Simon Wesely are listed as the writers, the producers, directors and editors. Simon is the cinematographer while Josh took care of “special effects,” something I would not take credit for. Simon plays a bit part while Josh is the lead. I assume they catered the film as well, with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from their mother’s kitchen. 2025: The World Enslaved By A Virus has been said to have cost ten thousand dollars to make, but for the life of me I don’t know where all that money went. For some reason, the film is shot in English except for one scene where the characters speak German for no reason. I don’t know why this choice was made, as only two or three of the actors in the film are native English speakers and most seem to parrot their lines syllable by syllable without any knowledge of English. The Wesely Brothers obviously aren’t bilingual either, as the entire script is written in stilted and bizarre broken Engrish like a 1980s video game. The music is autotuned and so loud I had to watch the film with subtitles to hear the dialogue. Every indoor scene is shot with a strange blue light and every outdoor scene takes place in the dead of winter in the mud. It’s neither pleasant to look at nor to listen to.
The film chronicles the last three months in the tragic life of Roy, a young German man who bears a passing resemblance to Juan from the 1990s Spanish immersion telanovela Destinos. Roy used to study “The Economy” in college five years ago before an oppressive regime took over the entire world under the guise of trying to control the Coronavirus. It is now 2025 and, to quote the film’s promotional material, “Communism is all over the place. A global world language developed, meetings are illegal, traveling is illegal, and Christianity is illegal.” Roy and his sister, Hannah, decide to find out if there are any Christians still alive out there by spray painting Ichthus symbols on grass and fallen leaves. They are joined by Hunter, an American who resigned from the Marine Corps because he couldn’t stand that his Marine Corps girlfriend was “siding with the government.” They are eventually assisted by Holly, a hacker who uses Google and Wikipedia, and the beautiful Leila, who works in some kind of underground office building with soldiers in it. What she’s doing is never explained. Leila and Roy fall in love and exchange the world’s most passionless kiss at a road construction site. The revolutionaries revive Christianity by mailing Bibles on DVD all over the world and holding a Zoom Communion service with what looks like cat food and beer. They are betrayed by a man with big round glasses. A weird montage of an engagement party plays over Roy’s face as he is shot to death. No words of mine can adequately express how slow, clumsy, dull and irritating the full hour and thirty minutes is. There is not a compelling moment in it.
I still feel I’m giving the film too much credit. Do not watch it. It’s not even good in an ironic way.
While researching this film and its cast and crew, I came across the curious IMDB tidbit that “50% of the film had to be shot by a different team of camera operators due to filming occurring within 500 feet of an elementary school.” I’m still trying to figure out what that means.
I’m also still trying to figure out another social media post by the Weselys, which is going viral on Facebook today.
It seems that Joshua Wesely, who plays Roy, despite having no onscreen chemistry with Isabelle Scheurmann, the actress for Leila, is married to her in real life. In fact, as far as I can tell, the weird montage at the end of the film is literally just pieces from the video of their engagement ceremony in late 2020. And based on screenshots of instagram posts which are being circulated all over social media, he celebrated her eighteenth birthday with her shortly before that party, where he publicly declared that they had already been an item for four years. They were married about six months later. I can’t compare these with Mr. Wesely’s actual Instagram, because it’s private just now. According to a website that seems to be all about this same Wesely family, Josh was born in 1998. This means he began his relationship with Ms. Scheurmann when she was 14 and he was an adult. The legal age of consent in Germany is fourteen, for the record. A thing doesn’t have to be illegal to be hair-raising and gross.
The last thing this movie needed was a layer of controversy to make me even MORE sick to my stomach.
In any case, if you want to watch a good dystopian film, there are dozens that are well worth your while. If you want to get intoxicated and laugh at a bad Evangelical Christian proselytizing film, there’s always God’s Not Dead. Nobody needs to watch 2025: The World Enslaved by a Virus. The Weselys don’t need your money.
Image via Pixabay
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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