‘Apostle’ review: Netflix’s newest film is a brutal, gory tale with a supernatural twist
‘The Raid’ director Gareth Evans shocks audiences with his unique yet deeply disturbing and ultra-violent film ‘Apostle’
Director Gareth Evans is no stranger to the horror genre, however in his new film ‘Apostle’ he certainly pushes the envelope. The film starts off as a slow burn, not giving audiences any real indication of what lies ahead. However, be warned, this 129 minute film is filled with more blood and gore than a dozen slasher films combined.
‘Apostle’ follows Thomas Richardson (played by Dan Evans), the alienated son of a rich industrialist who joins an island cult incognito to save his sister Andrea (played by Lucy Boynton) who is being held for ransom by deranged prophet named Malcolm (played by Michael Sheen).
Set in 1902, Malcolm offers his island of followers lodging, food and a sense of community. At a time where many were struggling to find these things, this was an ideal situation that lured hundreds of people in.
As a newcomer to the island, Thomas’ intentions are continuously questioned as Malcolm knows there is a spy in their midst. However, after Malcolm is attacked by another so called “intruder” on the island, Thomas proves his loyalty by saving his life and seemingly sacrificing himself to save his “leader”. After gaining the trust of Malcom, Thomas becomes more in tune with the goings on of the island, which includes a woman who is being held captive and tortured, his sister.
Story wise, the most endearing part of the film is the subplot of a forbidden love between two young villagers (played by Kristine Froseth and Bill Niler). In a Romeo & Juliet-esque romance, the two teens hide their relationship, that is until they try to escape the island together. In a way, this act is truly the catalyst of a violent uproar on the island that serves as the film’s final act. A man far more evil than Malcolm takes control of the cult and has no mercy for anyone that defies or questions him.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to finally set his sister free, Thomas goes to great lengths to find where they are keeping her on the island. While doing so, he comes across a demonic presence that has been fertilizing the island. At this point, the film goes from creepy to terrifying, as the individuals left alive try to run for their lives. The film turns into an all out bloody supernatural massacre, certainly not for the faint of heart.
With this terrifying and excessively violent film, director Gareth Evans assuredly took every chance he had to make ‘Apostle’ a movie that will remain ingrained in audiences heads far after they leave the theatre. However, at times, it felt like Evans cared more about shocking the audience than actually developing the characters, specifically with the protagonist Thomas. The performances were overall very good, specially Sheen who somehow brought a sense of humanity to a very terrible man.
If you are looking for a shockingly bloody and terrifying evening to Netflix and chill, ‘Apostle’ will give you all of that and more. However, on a side note, we highly suggest saving dinner for later, as the film will most definitely make your stomach churn.
‘Apostle’ premieres on Netflix on October 12.