Apostle review: certainly my favorite Netflix original film

Netflix’s cult horror film by Gareth Evans is a must-watch for Netflix subscribers.

Apostle, set in the early 1900s, is about a drifter named Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens of ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘Legion’, and one of my favorite films of the last decade, ‘The Guest’), is tasked with rescuing his sister who has been kidnapped by a violent religious cult lead by Malcolm (expertly played as usual by Michael Sheen), who are living on a remote island. It’s directed by Gareth Evans, director of The Raid: Redemption and its sequel, both phenomenal action films. Seeing as this one is a horror film, it is a departure from his last works, but its safe to say I enjoyed Apostle a lot.

The main draw of this film for me is Stevens, and he most definitely gives a performance certainly up to par with his other works. Richardson is an instantly likable character, and an easy dude to root for. You know next to nothing about him, but you just instantly love him because he is Dan Stevens.

The horror aspects of this film certainly were compelling. An awless, puritanical yet violent religious zealotry has always been something that truly scares me, and ‘Apostle’ certainly doesn’t hide the remarkably evil things humans can do armed with bloodthirst, some evil goal, and stupidity mixed in. That’s what really terrified me. Sheen’s Malcolm had an odd likable-ness to him, but the character that absolutely terrified me was Quinn, portrayed by actor Mark Lewis Jones. He gives a phenomenal performance, that really portrays this character incredibly unhinged from beginning to end. This character was pretty much instantly hateable, and you just grow to hate and be terrified by him as the film goes farther.

With horror, there usually has to be gore, and while usually I am not that sensitive to that type of stuff in movies, it does it in a very grim and unsettling way that really made me want to look away,

The cinematography, done expertly by Matt Flannery, is great, and it goes perfectly well with the filming and the choreography of scenes of horror or action (as ‘Apostle most definitely has some of ‘The Raid’ in its DNA).

My only real problem with the film is the length. The film begins perfectly. It was quick, with minimal exposition. However, the exposition buildup comes later, most specifically in the middle of the film. For a certain section, really not much happens. It is not for terribly long, but I did notice it enough to bother me.  However, that period certainly could be seen as a tension builder. And, when it does stop being slow, it ramps up in intensity substantially, and that’s where the film was at its best.

In summation, if you have a Netflix subscription you should most definitely watch ‘Apostle’. While it does have that weak middle section, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The cast and cinematography are both great, and the premise is executed in a unique way that I really enjoyed.