Let’s be nice and save horror film fans some time – skip the 2018 movie ‘Apostle’ if you are not a patient viewer and have low tolerance for gore and brutal bloody scenes.
Directed and written by Gareth Evans, the film is set in 1905 and focuses on a man’s mission to rescue his sister who has been kidnapped by a crazy/creepy cult that inhabits an isolated island. Actor Dan Stevens of ‘Beauty & the Beast’ fame plays Thomas Richardson, the protagonist, who attempts to blend in with the sinister cult to find out where his sister is.
Cinematography wise the movie is great to look at, the island where the story unfolds is beautiful and scenic to look at. But a dark, somber atmosphere pervades throughout the runtime, with crazy zealots doing weird shit around the place. All the actors are pretty great, but the pace is snail-paced. It’s slow, with an unnecessary romantic sub-lot involving two young inhabitants of the island that ends in tragedy. The director goes all out to make you sit at the edge of your seat and scream over the pain of the victims, but this comes at the cost of several boring scenes in between that are snooze-worthy.
At the heart of it, the movie is all about the anatomy of cults – how they start, how they function, how they survive and how they eventually degenerate. But even this theme is not dwelt too deeply upon. If I had to sum the story in a sentence, I would say – evil men kidnap a girl for money, get screwed over by her brother.
The good thing about ‘Apostle’ is that there are no jump-scares or those cliched slow build-ups to something scary. The viewer is made to know what’s coming next and they know it’s not going to be pleasant to watch. What really doesn’t work in the film’s favor is the extra 40 minutes of drama and sub-plots that could’ve been chopped off to make it more edgy and exciting to watch.
The climax wasn’t all too bad and overall – ‘Apostle’ is an interesting mix of horror, cult, mystery, magic & ancient lore. But TOO DAMN LONG. It’s a 5/10 from me.