Written and directed by Gareth Evans, the mind behind The Raid films, comes the straight to Netflix horror Apostle. Do not let its lack of a cinema release fool you this is a dark, violent and lovingly crafted horror starring Dan Stevens (The Guest) and Michael Sheen (Frost and Nixon). Set in 1905 Thomas Richardson’s (Dan Stevens) sister Jennifer (Elen Rhys) has been kidnapped by a mysterious, island dwelling, religious cult and he is tasked with tricking his way onto the island, earning their trust and rescuing his sister; sounds simple right?
As Thomas reaches the island we slowly learn about life on it, the secretive religion and its leaders. The mystery and intrigue remains high throughout in this tremendously tense thriller that owes a debt of gratitude to The Wickerman. Cheap jump scares are avoided, this is a slow burner with an intense sense of dread that grows until a climactic – and question raising – ending with plenty of twists and turns along the way. As the mystery unfurls the violence increases, no Raid style fights here but some truly eye watering torture scenes, you have been warned.
Dan Stevens and Michael Sheen are both superb, especially Mr Sheen who plays the maniacal cult leader Malcolm Howe with aplomb. Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody) plays the prophets daughter Andrea Howe adeptly, as she slowly discovers Thomas’ true intent. Another stellar performance is given by Mark Lewis Jones, yes the man behind Shagga in Game of Thrones, who plays Malcolm’s right hand man Quinn in a delectably evil and controlling manner.
8/10 – In Apostle Gareth Evans has crafted a dark, slow burning horror with unexpected plot twists and plenty of blood and guts along the way. Its focus on religion and politics and how, in the wrong hands, they can used to manipulate and control is splendidly done and depressingly timely.