Tag Archives: religion

Draug (2018)

Directors: Karin Engman, Klas Persson 
Starring: Elna Karlsson, Thomas Hedengran, Ralf Beck, Nine Filimoshkina, Urban Bergsten. Sweden. 1h 27m

There’s been a modern trend of directors getting back to their ruddy roots and finding terror in the wood which is the driving force in this potent doom folk horror, as local hero’s search for a missing man of the cloth. Draug keeps a sharp edge through it’s dynamic set up of a foul mouthed beer swigging clan leader Kettil (Hedengran), his highly sensitive and possibly psychic adopted daughter Nanna (Karlsson), his main squeeze and apparently his bravest men.

It feels very “authentic” drab colours, crazy locals and lots of beer; it’s the stereotypical perception of any European pagan infused settlement, while not being historically accurate ,if gives you what you’d expect, and more, there are few whoopie moments, modern clothing being the main culprit, it will be interesting to see how many other goods a professional could pick out!?

After setting out, the rescue team start at the last place where the missionary was seen, a quite neighboring village but all they find there is beer and stories about the creepy woods, the only event is Nanna getting creped out by a demented old woman, signs start to appear that adopted daughter is quite different from the other morals around her and the movie hinges on her discovering her origins and powers.

Draug sits well between scandanivan journey epics like Wolfhound (2006) with touches of the dark mysticism of Sauna (2008), yet it really doesn’t know if it wants to be an action flick or something more supernatural. Without having the massive budget or drive, at times Draug flounders, yet manages to keep a somewhat brooding sense of danger until the final act, when all hell is supposed to break loose but this is where the lack of budget trips the production up and it ends up being an extended episode of Nightmare(1987-1994), the mood changes to some kind of ethereal neon lit world and a new entity finally makes itself known within layers of lightning struck scenery side steps all the good build up that the movie achieved until then.

Oft in the woods, is a listener nigh – Grettir’s Saga

There could be more character development apart from the ale quaffing kind and his daughter everyone else is just mud soaked Viking some braver than others but there’s no real emphasis on who these characters are. There’s a lot of technical and acting fails, see if you can catch modern clothes, people looking for the camera and lots of focal adjustments.

“Where’s the bloody beer”

Kettil

It’s great to see the forest being used a home for monsters yet again, it’s certainly nothing new in folk horror sub genre, it happens time and time again but the strength of Draug is firstly with its approach of there being some peace between the religious and pagan people, and then in it’s bitter ending. Engman and Persson make a bold leap into the European fairytale narrative where there are no happy endings. There’s a lot to admire with the approach to feminine strength Nanna has to make some difficult choices, finding her a dark secret within her bloodline is something the film is set up to do from the beginning but the implications are so very damning. Draug is surely one that needs to be seen to encompass modern folk horror but it’s a movie which feels challenged by its own storytelling, it wants to be a dark nightmare but it’s a slightly confusing one at best.

Rating: 4/10

 

Related: The Witch (2015), Hagasuzza (2017), Sauna (2008), The Ritual (2017), Wolfhound (2006)
Lists: Folk Horror, A Witch in the Woods
Trailer

 

La Chiesa / The Church (1989)

Director: Michele Soavi
Starring: Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana, Feodor Chapliapin Jr. Barbara Cupisti, Antonella Vitale, Asia Argento .Italy. 1h 42m

I’d like to suggest that Michele Soavi’s The Church (1989) is a good movie, but the least I could say is that it’s interesting, on occasions quite fascinating and occasionally on board with Clive Barker for it’s sexy bodies and ugly monster creepiness. But is it a good movie?! Between the incoherent plot and awkward characters it sells a mystical story and it’s highly entertaining and that’s what counts. Continue reading La Chiesa / The Church (1989)

Red Letters (2019)

Director: Jim Klock
Starring:Jim Klock, Mike Capozzi, Chad Ridgely .USA. 1h 26m

This is quite a tidy moody piece of theology noir, as two investigators embark on a spiritual journey while searching for a missing police officer.

After watching the officer pass through a door while answering an emergency call he’s never seen again and his distraught wife asks for additional help to find him. Jim and Mike answer the call, each at different ends of the spectrum of religious belief, although Mike, while pious, had the remarkable skill of being highly psychic, and is reluctant to take this particular job but goes along to help his bestest bud. Continue reading Red Letters (2019)

Se7en (1995)

Click the banner for the full list
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt . USA. 2h 6m

Only one year after The Crow (1994) darkened cinema screens with a midnight gothic punk industrial wild decent into grief, loss and revenge, David Fincher hit back and an equally hard hitting film which was often likened to the Crow in the early headlines as popular cinema tried to refocus on what was happening, somehow subvergent underground ideas from comics and madmen were becoming popular and adjustments had to be made. These dark worlds filled with grimy stress, rain and a heavy oppressive atmosphere often mimic the inner depression and rage of one or more of their characters. Eric Draven’s depression at losing the love of his life is mimicked by the dark night and rain, his tears, but what is creating the dark dirty polluted rain filled world within Fincher’s, unnamed metropolis it’s certainly not from lost love. Continue reading Se7en (1995)

St Agatha (2018)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Sabrina Kern, Carolyn Hennesy, Courtney Halverson, Hannah Fierman. USA. 1h 43m

Motherhood and the church are two of the most ancient and powerful stories we have in human history. The two are often blended together in twisted tales of the rebirth of Christ or the Antichrist, or blended into complex conspiracy theories as in DaVinci Code. St Agatha pokes at the vulnerability of young women who need help when they find themselves pregnant with nowhere to go but the group of perverse sadistic nuns who run the home have darker motives for gathering such women together. Continue reading St Agatha (2018)

Borderlands \ Final Prayer (2013)

Director: Elliott Goldner.
Starring. Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill, Aidan McArdle, Lee Arnold, Patrick Godfrey. UK. 1h 29m.

There are some strange going on in Elliott Goldner’s dark found footage horror set in the beautiful rural Devon landscape. After a miracle at a small church close to being closed down, a team of Vatican expert investigators and a plucky technician head out to prove or disprove the supernatural activity only to discover the truth is harder to believe than the miracle.

Goldner successfully sets up a plausible reason for the cameras and maintains a really good combination of shaky and static cam set up. Starting in South America the camera follows the authorities barging into an abandoned church, Brother Deacon (Kennedy) is screaming into the phone that everyone is missing as the cops find hidden microphones and equipment, it’s an obvious religious scam, “get that camera out of my face” fade to black. Continue reading Borderlands \ Final Prayer (2013)

Posetitel Muzeya / A Visitor to a Museum (1989)

Director: Konstantin Lopushansky
Starring: Viktor Mikhaylov, Vera Mayorova,Vadim Lobanov, Irina Rakshina, Aleksandr Rasinsky, Iosif Ryklin, Yu. Sobolev, Vladimir Firsov. Russia/Soviet Union/West Germany/Switzerland. 2h 16m

The jaw dropping, mind bending and highly disjointed follow on to Dead Man’s Letters (1986), shows that Lopushansky has lost none of this amazing vision of the world after an apocalyptic disaster. Usually history is written by the victors but who really comes out on top when the entire planet sinks into a nuclear winter?

From it’s dark crimson opening, it’s clear that the world is a very different place in this complicated post-apocalyptic future, that carries on from living memories of Chernobyl. The world attempts to keep things moving as a tourist attempts to traverse the barren landscape to visit a museum buried deep below the ocean. Clothed in a long black coat and carrying a single suitcase he stumbles through massive piles of waste, fights through clouds of dangerous dust and catches the saddest looking train I’ve ever seen limp down a track. Eventually he makes it to his “hotel” a house run by rich elites that looks out onto a vibrant shore that leads to a hidden fabled Museum. Continue reading Posetitel Muzeya / A Visitor to a Museum (1989)

Apostle (2018)

Director: Gareth Evans.
Starring. Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, Mark Lewis Jones, Bill Milner, Kristine Froseth, Paul Higgins, Michael Sheen. USA. 2h 10m.

Gareth Evans’ Apostle is a troubled journey into the dark nature of man being forced upon the nature around him in the guise of a new religious cult who have hauled up on a remote island. Evan’s previous projects are considerably different in nature, mostly the Raid (2012) and Raid 2 (2014), which saw a lot of action and violence, although he did perfect sidestep into horror in the V/H/S 2 (2013) anthology when he co directed the Safe Haven segment but again his horror came with a fast pace. But in this epic horror, he manages to divide the film into something more brooding before it picks up speed and descends into a casserole of blood or torture.  Much like Panos Cosmatos Mandy (2018). When you think you’ve “got” the movie, suddenly there’s a shift into something unexpected and there’s not going back.
Continue reading Apostle (2018)

Matthew 18 (2014)

Director: Roy Belfrey .
Starring.Lanore Van Buren Belfrey, Sanya Belfrey, Don Benjamin, Luenell, Faizon Love USA. 1h 41m.

This all black horror movie takes it’s religion in young people way more serious that I had expected. Being coined as the scariest African american movie of all time I struggled to try and work out what it was in competition with, Blackula (1972)? Abby (1974)? The Sorrows of Elizabeth (2016)? There aren’t too many that come to mind but it’s an subgenre of cinema that I’m not fully clued up on unless it’s a Nollywood epic. Centering around one young girl who thinks she’s too smart for faith, Michelle Jamieson (Lanore) was raised in a deeply religious family but wants to express her independence, by moving away and thinking for herself, when an opportunity arises for her to flee her bible thumping parents she’s takes a scholarship in a medical program and skips town to her aunt’s house, a large mansion which has been in the family for generations but what she encounters rocks her beliefs to the core. Continue reading Matthew 18 (2014)