Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Apostle' (2018)
"Poor Life Choices" the Movie
I was initially hoping this was going to be a little more like The Wicker Man, as a sort of period piece. It wasn't but I was not disappointed. If you're a fan of my horror reviews, you may remember my scathing review of VVitch.The good things I have to say about VVitch I can parrot here. Stunning visuals, hopelessly dark, anachronistically spectacular. I'm a fan of period pieces and really appreciate any effort. They did trip up a couple times. for instance, while wick lighters existed, Zippo style clasp lighters didn't exist for another 25 years. You could also tell that the shells they used in the guns were plastic, while they would have either been brass or paper shells. So VVitch gets the award for superior anachronisms, but as a movie still sucked.Apostle was actually quite good. There where of course a few things that bothered the shit out of me. Such as the over arching plot essentially being just another tired ass "damsel in distress" movie. They did "spoon feed the villains" a bit. The ending didn't make a ton of sense, or, it simply not how I would chose to end it. But the acting was fantastic. It was good for Hollywood, which is of course rare. The atmosphere was dark, drab, and depressing, in the sense that it was both morbidly dark and shot with very little light. In my review of VVitch I explained how this made the sens of hopelessness consuming, but also forced you to watch it in the dark which just drove the atmosphere home. Finally, regardless of its faults, the plot was at least well written and held interesting new mythos to explore.
I do give this movie my recommendation. If anything, it's something a little different and it really wasn't half bad over all.
There are a few things that bother me about this movie that I just can't get over. So you discover that three brothers started a cult because they were criminal outcast from Britain during the beginning of the British labor movement. Basically, they're likely communists, or because they're religious, more likely hard socialists. This movie really goes out of it's way to pour on the "socialism bad" routine like Frankenstein's monster running from a lit match. Only, it falls flat on it's face and basically just show how religion is bad. Every attempt to discredit communal living winds up being analogous to how religion turns men into unhinged power hungry nut-bags.
The brothers discover a deity on the island which can control nature but the deity is week as all of it's followers are long gone. They trap it and start feeding it, only enough to have it do their bidding, but to also ensure it's too week to break free. They then from a cult explaining that they speak for the deity. This balance proves impossible and the deity begins to defy them. Crops die, livestock can't breed, chickens won't lay their eggs, basically the brother's cult begins to starve. As an act of desperation, they kidnap a missionary from mainland Britain and try to ransom her off to her family so they can buy goods for the cult.
Here's where the actual movie begins. My first problem is that this upstart cult kidnapped, not only a missionary, but a missionary whose the daughter of a rich family. During this time in Britain, if the brother of the missionary went to the local magistrate, they would have dispatched a small platoon to effectively wipe out the cult. It would have been a far smarter rescue mission and more than likely what would have realistically happened. They even explain in the plot that the British government is aware of the cult and itching for an excuse to end them all. There's even a failed assassination attempt during the movie that is completely unrelated to the plot. Why is this cult even still a thing? The British empire during the 1900s wouldn't have thought twice to steam roll this little island and reclaim it just because they felt like it.
My second problem is that the cult turns on their leader for basically no discernible reason. One of the brothers basically turns on the brother whose in charge and the rest just fall right in line. No reason. They've been undying loyal to the brother in charge up until this point but just turn on him without a second thought. The weirdest part is that this guy kills the son of the youngest brother, the brother in charge pretty much does nothing about it, and the youngest brother doesn't really do anything about it ether. The youngest brother has a chance to strait up put a bullet in the guys head, and he doesn't. And before you argue that it's because they're brothers, I should point out that he didn't just kill the youngest brother's son, he fucking cored out his head like a god damn jack-o-lantern.
And the ending just doesn't make any fucking sense. The deity asks the protagonist to free her. Sure, that makes sense. But by freeing her, she means killing her... why? He could just feed her the whole fresh corpse to her right and she could exact her own revenge. I mean, it would have been kinda nice to see her dragging people into the ground with tree roots, or having wild animals descend on the cult like a rabid army. It could even be more subtle where she just pops up and sucks the life out of the last two brothers.
Whatever. It was still okay and I could recommend it to anyone.