Title: Apostle (2018)
Director: Gareth Evans (The Raid 2)
Starring: Dan Stevens, Michael Sheen, Kristine Froseth, Bill Milner, Lucy Boynton
Plot: In the early 1900’s, Thomas Richardson (Stevens) heads to a mysterious island community run by religious leader Prophet Malcolm (Sheen) after his sister is kidnapped and held ransom by the group.
“This island, it’s our paradise”
Review by Eddie on 17/10/2018
It’s been a long time between drinks for Welsh director Gareth Evans, who last unleashed a serious bought of kinetic energy onto the cinema going public with his brilliant, brutal and bloodthirsty action epic The Raid 2 in 2014.
In between these long drinks, Evan’s has dismissed the possibility of a third and final Raid film and had a large scale action film he was working on collapsed before filming begun, so it’s great to finally see what Evans has in store for us with his newest film and first English language feature Apostle.
Released through streaming giant Netflix, Apostle is Evan’s love letter to genre classics Wicker Man and Witchfinder General and for anyone that found themselves enamoured with those religiously tinged horror’s, Apostle will be a film you instantly connect with, just prepare for more blood and brief but exhilarating snippets of violence of which permeated throughout The Raid film’s and made them the heart racing exercises they ended up being.
Apostle feels cut from the same cloth as Evan’s breakout hits and also feels very close to Evan’s short film Safe Haven from 2013’s V/H/S 2 horror anthology outing, but unfortunately this unnerving and often terrifying yarn sees Evan’s bite of more than he can chew, as an initially intriguing and dread-filled set-up gives way to an increasingly far-fetched plot-line that features some of the year’s most horrifying scenes, not for the squeamish or faint of heart.
Creating a lived in island environment as Dan Steven’s wide-eyed and highly strung Thomas Richardson finds himself living in a cultish early 1900’s community run by Michael Sheen’s Prophet Malcolm, as he searches for his kidnapped sister, Apostle allows Evans to craft a film filled with an ominous and realistic world but problems begin to become apparent and more prominent as the films runtime ticks along and the oddities Thomas comes across get more and more fanciful.
It’s hard to connect on any real emotional level here with characters barely established as Evans instead focuses his attention on a more visceral experience.
Through this Evan’s succeeds as he holds back little from the horror’s that lurk beneath the surface of Prophet Malcolm’s “paradise” with Apostle delivering some of the years more frightning and horrifying scenes that will keep gore-hounds more than sufficed; scenes featuring a “purification” and a swim in a unappealing body of water likely to go down as some of 2018’s movie images you can’t wipe from your memory.
Final Say –
Featuring a bonkers and all in lead turn from Dan Stevens, Apostle is a mild disappoint from Evan’s who had a tough act to follow thanks to the Raid double bill. A film with moments of brilliance and moments of equal annoyance’s, that is still a film likely to win plaudits from its target audience but not those more casual movie goers browsing Netflix for some care-free entertainment.
3 water chickens out of 5