In his latest film Apostle, writer-director Gareth Evans makes a sharp genre shift from the high-octane martial-arts action of his earlier smash-hit The Raid.
Instead, Evans has opted to make a slow, brooding period-horror set in an early 20th Century Welsh village, a far-cry from the cramped post-industrial Indonesian slums in his last film.
Apostle centers on Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens), who’s hauled out of his opium-addicted stupor and sent to a remote Welsh island to search for his sister, who was kidnapped by the island’s mysterious cult, led by the ailing Malcolm Howe (Michael Sheen).
Richardson decides to pose as a new convert while he snoops around but things soon spiral out of control as the cult members turn to increasingly desperate acts of violence to defend their faith.
The squeamish among you may want to give this one a wide berth because it gets pretty rought. Thankfully Evans is restrained enough that Apostle manages to avoid becoming as gratuitous as other horror films like Saw, but there are still more than a few moments that will leave many squirming in their seats.
Those who can push on through, though, will be rewarded with a dark and emotional horror that can easily join the ranks of similar classics like the original Wicker Man and Witchfinder General.