Directed by Gareth Evans [Other horror films: Footsteps (2006), V/H/S/2 (2013, segment ‘Safe Haven’)]
This one caught me a bit by surprise. While I expected it to be an above-average movie based on the plot alone, I wasn’t quite expecting something of this high quality.
In many ways, this feels a bit like an updated version of The Wicker Man (a comparison that many others have made, it seems), only this takes place in the early 1900’s. There’s some amazing suspense and a somewhat layered story here, and combine that with both the quality performances and heavy quantities of gore, you have a solid movie here.
One factor that might initially seem detrimental to enjoyment may be the run-time, Apostle being a two hour and ten minute movie. That said, the film didn’t feel that long, and never really seemed to drag, which is somewhat of a feat in itself. I’d just say to not let the length deter you from giving the film a chance.
The cast makes the film better even if you think it’s on the sluggish side. I’m not familiar with any of these names, but Dan Stevens does great as the main character, and Michael Sheen was rather charismatic as Prophet Malcolm. Bill Milner did okay in his role, but his love interest Kristine Froseth did better. Lucy Boynton has a fiery nature about her, and Mark Lewis Jones really shone here, especially nearing the conclusion, which held a few surprises for us.
Possessing an unexpected brutality, Apostle had great gore. Multiple slit throats, a few torture scenes, impalement by spears, some mangled fingers, and my favorite scene, a disembowelment. I was pretty much thinking the movie would be an atmospheric slow-burn, and it sort of is, but the gore they had was top-notch, and like I alluded to, took me by surprise.
Apostle’s not a movie likely to appeal to everyone, especially given the run-time. If you’re a fan of The Wicker Man, though, this might be worth looking for. The gore would likely satisfy the slasher fans, and the suspense and pretty lush story and characterization would please those looking for something a little deeper. This is a movie that I can’t easily classify, but it’s all the better for it, and I think it was really a treat to see.