Film Review: Apostle – 7.5/10

Halloween season continues…

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Welsh director Gareth Evans is most known as the man behind The Raid. A film that posed the eternal question, what would happen if you made a fight scene last for an entire movie and then answered that question by punching the audience, itself and anyone in the vicinity square in their goddamn face. Basically, The Raid is just one long punch. And it is glorious.

Evans has dipped his toe into the fetid pond of horror movies before, having contributed to the anthology series V/H/S, but Apostle is his first full feature in this area. It also only has some punching.

At the turn of the 20th century, a man travels to a remote island to try and rescue his sister from a sinister cult. Dan Stevens plays that man and he plays him wonderfully. Whilst I did not particularly enjoy the TV show Legion, that was largely in spite of Stevens rather than because of him, and he gives an excellent performance here as the brooding and pained Thomas Richardson. Also on song are Michael Sheen as a bombastic cult leader and Mark Lewis Jones as his volatile lieutenant Quinn.

Apostle draws from everything from The Wicker Man to Kill List in a wild ride through the vivid imagination of Gareth Evans. While there are certain elements of the plot that could probably do with a little more explanation, the explosive pacing employed by Evans ensures that Apostle is a visceral thrill ride from start to finish.

We are currently in a golden age of horror films and it is genuinely delightful to see yet another memorable movie that doesn’t have to rely on a pre-existing franchise or worn out ideas. All of a sudden there are numerous production companies and directors that are dragging horror out of the bargain bin and into awards ceremonies, with all the acclaim that comes with it.

Apostle is one of many great horror films to be released in the last two years. Watch it, and then get ready for the next show-stopping horror film that will no doubt appear in the coming weeks. Exciting times.

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