The whole act of making a good anthology, a single film with multiple stories, comes down to balance. Are a majority of the stories effective and if not, what order should they be in so one half isn’t stronger than the other? Is there anything to connect the stories together or is the wrap-around going to be the connective tissue? Even with the most famous of all horror anthologies, Creepshow by George Romero, there are discussions about which stories work and which don’t. For We Are Many, living up to its name, boldly displaying 13 tales about demons compared to Creepshow‘s five.
While being hunted down by knights near the coast, a king is confronted by a demon offering to protect his crown. The demon is the fabled Legion and he is carrying a book of tales of demons across time. There are stories of evils that haunt the woods, while others are located indoors. Some make deals, and some take what they want. While the stories are unique and the demons are many, it begs the question, are we next?
While I tried to put an interesting spin on the wrap-around of For We Are Many, it couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a history of strong wrap-arounds in anthologies that can range anywhere from explaining the sins to a group of damned people in Tales from the Crypt (1972) to each story being a different inmate of the madhouse in Asylum (1972). While it seems like Legion is going to tell these stories to the King, there is no indication to the audience why they are seeing them. Legion’s promise to protect the crown could create an interesting throughline if every story had the crown in it, similar to the orb in the Heavy Metal movie but instead, it just feels like a bunch of stories where only the loose definition of a “demon” is connecting them.
If my question of “are a majority of the stories effective” was asked about For We Are Many the answer would be no, for the effectiveness and the arrangement. While the first half has somewhat predictable shorts, they feel creative and interesting enough that the expectations are raised. The middle is the biggest mixed bag, with some being very good, and others just being shallow or forgettable. The last 30 minutes however, is a miserable slog where every short just feels painfully generic and not fully realized, ending on the god awful wrap-around that feels pointless.
As with most anthology films, there are going to be short that shine, and ones that fall flat, but unfortunately For We Are Many the bad outweighs the good. Without a solid wrap-around or a more connective theme you could watch every section disjointed and it wouldn’t affect the viewing experience. This is the kind of film where people would be encouraged to just seeking out the individual shorts online for a better viewing experience. If you are an anthology completionist, there is nothing horrendously bad about this film, but otherwise consider it a pass.
5 out of 10
|For We Are Many|
|Runtime:||1 hr 25Mins.|