A man infiltrates an isolated cult to rescue his sister in turn-of-the-century Wales.
Directed by Gareth Evans
Starring Dan Stevens, Michael Sheen, and Lucy Boynton
Review by Jon Kissel
Welsh director Gareth Evans’ first three movies, Merantau and the two Raid movies, put him at or near the top of the list for martial arts filmmaking. His work with Indonesian casts are sweaty, bone-crunching monuments to the brutality of feet, fists, and elbows crashing into an opponent, and they put most other action movies, martial arts or not, to shame. They are also some of the most violent movies I’ve ever seen, particularly Raid 2. Evans has moved on from Jakarta-set crime epics to period horror with Apostle, leaving behind almost all of the hand-to-hand combat but keeping the violence and gore. Evans pays tribute to earlier movies about creepy British cults like The Wicker Man or Kill List while putting his own stamp on the subgenre with some eyelid-searing imagery and unique cinematography. A more complex story than his earlier work slows Evans down and reveals the limits of his powers, but Apostle bolsters a director whose visual sense is impeccable even if he might need some help in the writer’s room.
The tropes of horror movies have to come from somewhere, and it seems like a lot of them come from Sam Raimi’s micro-budget cult classic The Evil Dead. Whether or not this is the first ‘cabin in the woods’ type film, it certainly isn’t the last. The film warns its characters from taking certain actions, warnings that are duly ignored. Behavior makes little to no sense, but as long as it leads to more violence and thrills, who cares. There isn’t the repayment of sexuality with death and dismemberment exactly, though there is a gross scene of exploitation that even Raimi says he regrets. As one of the titans of horror, Raimi is familiar enough with all these tropes that much of the rest of his career has been spent commenting on them, but the film that made his name is played as a straight-ahead, claustrophobic gorefest. Future installments will send his giant-jawed protagonist back to the Middle Ages but Ash Williams’ introduction is your average tale of Sumerian ghosts and the bodies they inhabit, at least until they explode in a shower of creamed corn.
Bryan Hartman Watch More Musicals Award
Contestant sing-along, Eurovision Song Contest
Nightclub strut, Da 5 Bloods
Oklahoma dance sequence, I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Being Alive karaoke, Marriage Story
Maypole dance, Midsommar - WINNER
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.
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