Period thriller from filmmaker Gareth Evans (The Raid), following a man trying to save his sister from a religious cult. Stars Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast) and Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon).

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Flicks Review

The Raid and The Raid 2 made it abundantly clear that Gareth Evans is one of the most exciting filmmakers of our time. His latest proves he has chops beyond the best action cinema of recent years and is adept at feature-length horror, too. Apostle doesn't end up as great a film as it had the potential to be—but it is still extraordinary.... More

This is a classic British folk horror that slides in easily with the likes of The Wicker Man and Witchfinder General. Evans avoids jump-scares in favour of sequences that are pure, full-bore dread, peppered throughout an increasingly unsettling slow-burn. Apostle moves at a measured pace for much of its more than two-hour runtime, introducing a wide array of elements and cleverly teasing out mystery.

There's a beautiful, murky green palette applied in Matt Flannery's elegant cinematography which helps hammer home the well-realised tone, as does Aria Prayogi's score. I also love the masks and religious symbols used that help make everything deliciously creepy. There's a lot of little details that all add up to something quite special, along with the abrupt moments of sweet as violence.

As shit gets increasingly crazy and supernatural dangers are added to the human ones, Apostle transitions into quite a different film than it was earlier on. In the end, there's too many ideas thrown into the mix for them all to be satisfactorily resolved. Even though a few twists mean I was asking the wrong questions, I still didn't get enough of the answers I wanted for this to be a home run.

The good thing is knowing that means every time I rewatch this—which will likely be many—there will be nothing to be disappointed in and everything to enjoy. And there's a shitload to enjoy in this intensely dark, savagely gory and wonderfully imaginative horror.Hide

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BY fairbrother superstar

The most interesting thing about Apostle is that it's a period-set Brit-horror from the guy who gave us the pulverizing action-thrillers The Raid and The Raid 2 (that'd be writer-director-editor Gareth Evans). The pick-and-mix plot - a pinch of The Wicker Man here, a dash of Witchfinder General there - is perhaps over-stuffed, with the supernatural dimension least persuasive or coherent, although it's seldom dull and the confidence with which Evans juggles subplots and multiple characters is... More admirable. He contrives one genuinely scary ghoul-encounter, and one wincingly nasty torture/murder set piece, couched in moderate levels of unease and narrative intrigue elsewhere. He pulls off a handful of surprise turns and visual coups, too, with at least one fluid-moving long take that was dizzying catnip for this viewer. But although it's committed to an essentially serious tone, Apostle has no underlying substance to resonate beyond the screen. The best horror movies strike a popular nerve; Apostle has nerve but lacks the thematic purpose of its influences, making it effective but disposable pulp. Side note: loved the detail on the sets.Hide

Director Gareth Evans burst onto the scene with the kick-ass action movies ‘The Raid’ and its sequel. Now he’s proven he can turn his hand to another genre, with the best Brit horror since Ben Wheatley’s ‘Kill List’. Drawing on the spooky, slow-build of the original ‘Wicker Man’, ‘Apostle’ finds washed-up, drug-addicted, Dan Stevens sneaking onto an island full of cult worshippers in search of his kidnapped sister.

Think M Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Village’ meets... More HBO’s ‘Deadwood’ for an idea of the muddy colour palette Evans and cinematographer Matt Flannery lend this 1905 island community, led by grizzled prophet Michael Sheen. The cast are perfect, the costumes sackcloth, the colour palette unrelentingly murky with sudden bursts of green. Slow to build, and all the better for it, it’s not too long before the sense of terror and tension build to explosive and bloody levels of gory release.

To say too much more would be to spoil the surprises in store, but ‘Apostle’ is yet another example of why Netflix isn’t just a dumping ground for unreleasable movies, as this is a gem deserving of a theatrical release, but still great to enjoy at home.

For horror fans, it’s a blood-splattered, curl up on the sofa delight.Hide