Onyx has his fans and you can’t scratch the feeling that’s who this is ultimately made for, a lot of whom backed the project.
WRITTEN BY ALEX GILSTON / JANUARY 29, 2023
Picture the scene: it's 2013 and the online world is gripped by Vine fever. You could film a short video and it would go viral. There were wades of 6 second shorts which included sayings that were endlessly quotable like “Welcome to Chilli’s” and “Look at all those chickens”. One that also garnered millions of views was a video called “Weird Satanist Guy”. A bearded man donning a fedora waiting in line to see a statue of the devil himself. “Notice me Senpai, Notice Me” instantly became one of those viral quotes. The man who uttered it was Onyx the Fortuitous - the online persona of content creator and filmmaker Andrew Bowser - who has since continued to make videos for YouTube for a horde of doting fans. During the Vine days things gained popularity and swiftly went away like the snap of a finger, so you’d probably be forgiven for wondering why - almost ten years later - there would possibly be a feature film made about this wacky doodle online character. But Onyx The Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls puts him front and center in his very own horror filled adventure.
Onyx the Fortuitous is living at home with his parents, working as a burger flipper at the local drive-thru. He’s living life day by day with no aim and the only thing that gets him through is his love for all things demonic. He’s thrilled when he wins a competition to go to meet his idol Bartok The Great. He along with another four of Bartok’s devoted followers - yes, Willy Wonka style - go along to his mansion. But when things go awry and they suspect Bartok might be using them for his own personal gain, Onyx and his new associates must try and stop him. The plot for Onyx the Fortuitous is fairly simple and wholly predictable. It’s almost as if Andrew Bowser wrote the screenplay in character as Onyx rather than as himself looking in. Although that’s the point, it then puts itself into the sticky position of being more for people who are already aware of who he is and - on top of that - big fans of him.
Fear not however, because if you aren’t aware of him, Onyx the Fortuitous also serves as a tribute to 80s horror and adventure movies. He even manages to get a whole dedicated MeatLoaf sequence in there too. This might be the film's biggest strength, because it does this in style. A lot of the effects are practical. There’s some fairly gory stuff that looks fine, but it’s some exquisite puppet work that steals the show. From some living dead style zombies, to some Labyrinth-Esque creatures. Fair play to Andrew Bowser for managing to get it looking as good as it does on a six hundred thousand dollar Kickstarter budget.
The main problem with Onyx The Fortuitous lies with the titular character himself. His personality is grating, his voice even more so, and everything he says is laced with cringe. In a film where he’s the lead character, it’s unavoidable, he’s in almost every scene and you’re never more than one degree away from another annoyingly delivered line.
Onyx has his fans and you can’t scratch the feeling that’s who this is ultimately made for, a lot of whom backed the project monetarily. That being said, Onyx The Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls is solid evidence that if you take something that was funny for five seconds and try and make it funny for two hours there’s a 99% chance it won’t be.