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Film / Dark Angel: The Ascent

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Dark Angel: The Ascent is a 1994 supernatural romance movie.

Veronica is a young demoness with a rebellious attitude. After her father tries to kill her, Veronica's friend shows her a way to ascend to the Earth above. Veronica tries to rid the mortal world of sinners as she falls in love with a human.

No relation to the TV series Dark Angel.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ascended Demon: Veronica is a young demoness who runs away from her family in Hell to experience what life is like on Earth. Upon arrival she becomes essentially human, at least in appearance.
  • Attempted Rape: A pair of street muggers attack a woman with clear intent to rape her before Veronica intervenes by killing them.
  • Big Bad: Mayor Wharton, the Corrupt Politician who makes the setting a Wretched Hive.
  • Christianity is Catholic: The movie is fairly dripping with Catholicism, with various references to "the One True Church" and an emissary from Heaven referring to God as "the First Cause." Interesting in that it subverts 2,000 years of Christian folklore and, arguably, doctrine in portraying the demons as God's damned-but-still-loyal-and-pious servants, rather than ever-rebellious enemies.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: When Max and Veronica (who's a demon posing as a human) go to a bar, an old girlfriend of Max makes Veronica so jealous that she almost kills her, but relents.
  • Crapsack World: The city the film takes place in is corrupt from the top down. Families are kicked onto the streets while the police brutalize minorities and let white people get away with rape and murder.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Even in her demonic form (pretty much what you'd expect: bat wings, claws, and horns), Veronica is rather cute.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Demons are not inherently evil beings, but more or less the jailers and torturers of Hell who have been given the job to punish the wicked. They're part of the same cosmic order as the Angels of Heaven, and pray to God.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Veronica is rather upfront about this, as she only learned about the concept of sexual love from a pornographic film.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The movie opens in a classical fiery hell, with rows of people being led around by the demons to suffer their fates.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: One of the two detectives investigating the vigilante killer has the bad luck of finding out Veronica's true nature in a frightful vision the demon girl projects in his mind. He's a shivering wreck for the rest of the film and promptly calls off the investigation. Later the mayor suffers this as well. He then publicly confesses his sins on television, resigns, and says he's going to live out his days in contemplation at a monastery (we would presume that's for repentance so he doesn't endure Hell in the hereafter).
  • Heaven's Devils: The demons in the film are religious, and Hell is indicated to be working in concert with Heaven. They're not evil, just doing God's will punishing sinners.
  • Hellhound: Played with. An Ascended Demon named Veronica finds a normal stray dog to accompany her during her time on Earth, affectionately calling it "beast".
  • Hollywood Nuns: The nuns whom Veronica meets on the street are in full habits (which look more Orthodox than Catholic incidentally), and offer her a shelter for the night in a church since they think she's homeless. Service work like this is more likely something religious sisters would do, the latter don't wear habits, but simple clothes with perhaps a modest headdress. Even assuming they were nuns, full habits ordinarily are only worn inside of a convent or at mass.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Holy objects can hurt demons, with Veronica's hand burning when a group of nuns try to give her a small cross, and she mentions that going into a church would burn her up. Subverted however, in that demons aren't really portrayed as evil.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The demons in Hell are not averse to anthropophagy. Veronica later gives some leftovers of the evil people she killed to her dog, and prepares some of it for her oblivious love interest Max.
  • Interspecies Romance: Veronica, a rebellious demonic girl, begins a romance with a human doctor named Max during her stay on Earth. She's eventually forced to reveal her real nature, but he doesn't care.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The blunt, aggressive, and violent (albeit in justice's name) Veronica is paired with the gentle, sensitive Max.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Veronica arrives on Earth completely naked, and she's very beautiful. She also has a sex scene with Max later in which she's shown topless.
  • Naked on Arrival: After Veronica's arrival on Earth, both her demonic appearance and her clothes vanish as she becomes more or less human, attracting the attention of a curious crowd.
  • Non Human Lover Reveal: Veronica doesn't reveal that she's a demon until after she and Max have already made love. He's a bit startled by her claws and wings at first, but ultimately doesn't mind.
  • Offing the Offspring: Veronica's demon father tries to kill her for defying him, justifying it to his wife by stating they can always have more children.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Demons look pretty similar to humans, but have horns and bat wings. They marry and reproduce, running Hell on God's behalf while piously worshipping Him (yet oddly enough still can't touch holy objects without harm).
  • Physical Hell: Hell is portrayed this way. The demonic heroine only has to go through a tunnel to crawl out of the sewers in a human city.
  • Pious Monster: Demons are portrayed not as completely malevolent monsters, but essentially the jailers of Hell. They're a religious sort who worship God and pray before dinner.
  • Police Brutality: Two of Veronica's victims were a couple racist white cops who harassed and then beat a black man for no reason except he was there. It later turns out the pair both had some long records of complaints for excessive force. The police officer guarding the mayor who later shoots Veronica is another example, as he does this after ordering her to stop while flying, even though she didn't have a weapon or pose any visible threat.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Veronica's eyes turn red every time she gets angry, revealing her true nature as a demon.
  • Satan Is Good: Demons are just the people who guard and enforce Hell, and answer to God. A demon family is even shown clocking off and saying grace before a meal.
  • Sexy Packaging: Veronica does not appear in the torn clothing some of the covers show her as wearing. She does, however, appear fully nude when she arrives on Earth.
  • The Sociopath: Mayor Wharton, who is perfectly willing to ruin the lives of the poor and people of color for political gain, and only repents when threatened with Hell.
  • Vigilante Man: Veronica, a demoness charged with punishing sinners, starts to kill several wicked people during her time on Earth by gutting them and feeding them to her dog.
  • Winged Humanoid: Veronica has large bat wings in her demonic form, though she doesn't use them to fly.