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Set in London, 1905. Prodigal son and drifter, Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) has returned home, only to learn that his sister is being held for ransom by a religious cult. Determined to get her back at any cost, Thomas travels to the idyllic and isolated island where the cult is living under the leadership of the charismatic Prophet Malcolm (Michael Sheen). As Thomas infiltrates the island’s community, he learns that the corruption of mainland society that they claim to reject has infested the cult’s ranks and uncovers a secret far more evil than he could have imagined. Written and directed by Gareth Evans (THE RAID), APOSTLE is a harrowing occult fable where the only thing more horrifying than madness is the sinister reality behind it.
The film tells the story of a man who arrives at the isolated island to track down his sister who has been abducted by a strange religious cult. But beneath the visage is something even more sinister than he could have possibly imagined when he discovers that they worship an entity called “She,” the Goddess of the Island.
This religion seems to have been founded by three men who claim to be escaped felons and were imprisoned for treason. The leader (and Prophet no less) of the religious Cult is Malcolm (Michael Sheen), who preaches the gospel of sharing and equality. He also discovers that the island is filled oppressed and helpless people, all being very well aware of Malcolm having a group of men who impose his will of violence and intimidation, and to make certain his orders are carried out while seeking dissent and blasphemy.
At one part in the movie, Thomas saves Malcolm from an assassins dagger and clearly gains his trust. Wounded in the attack, however, Thomas is nursed by Malcolm’s daughter, Andrea (Lucy Boynton) who is a beautiful and independently minded young woman. As Malcolm and his deputy, Quinn (Mark Lewis Jones) discover that the conveyor of the ransom is on the island, they begin to seek him out. The same night, Malcolm parades Jennifer through the village, claiming she is a traitor and will be hung if her co-conspirator does not come forward.
Thomas accesses a tunnel underneath Malcolm’s house and flees from what appears to be an old woman who chases him. He escapes to a beach cave covered in markings, indicating the presence of a deity on the island. Malcolm visits a barn where the old woman who is, in fact, the island’s deity, is imprisoned in tree roots; he reprimands her for appearing to Thomas before feeding her his blood, causing the vegetation imprisoning her to bloom. There seem to be many similarities to the original Wicker Man, except that the plots are distinctly different. The idea that Man corrupts religion for his own purpose is the main theme being portrayed in this movie.
Definitely worth a huge mention is the cinematography, which is absolutely stunning. Filmed mainly in Wales, it is an amazingly beautify location and the set is built to replicate the time period perfectly. The scenery, establishing shots, camera angles and all look crisp and amazing. The characters were all fleshed out and easy to empathize with, and I felt I really cared what happened to many of them. The pacing was perfect, the tone driving and rhythmic, there was never a point during this film where I was bored. To be honest, this is actually the first film in a good while that I found interesting enough to not notice the long run time, which clocked in at just over 2 hours. Overall I thought this was a fantastic movie and I’d definitely recommend it to others. Go see it now while it’s streaming on Netflix!
Release Date: October 12, 2018
Runtime: 2 hours, 9 minutes
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Drama
Starring: Dan Stevens, Richard Elfyn, Paul Higgins
MPAA Rated: TV-MA
Directors: Gareth Evans
Reviewed by: Grim Magazine
Our Rating: 3.6 /5
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