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'Apostle': A Movie Review

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Rekindling my love of horror and thriller movies, television shows, and sharing my thoughts with whoever may read them.

Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) eyes the mountain walls of Erisden, the island where his sister is being held for ransom in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) eyes the mountain walls of Erisden, the island where his sister is being held for ransom in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Story Summary

Jennifer Richardson, daughter of a wealthy British family, has been kidnapped and held for ransom on the isolated island of Erisden. It's up to her brother Thomas to find her, free her, and bring her home. But the Erisden community is not an ordinary one, you must convert to their created religion, follow their self-appointed prophet, Malcolm Howe, and worship their island goddess. And this is exactly what Thomas does.

Thomas Richardson is a former missionary for the Christian church and was branded with a cross while on a mission in China, leaving him with little faith in any god and an addiction to pain medicine.

Thomas is branded with a cross while on a mission in China.  'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Thomas is branded with a cross while on a mission in China. 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Malcolm, Quinn, and Frank are men who were imprisoned for treason against the King and country, sentenced to death, but ultimately escaped. They stowed away on boats, battered by the sea and were drawn to the island by the sound of 'her' voice, the goddess of the island. It's here that they began sacrificing animals to the goddess so she would continue to make the land fertile and crops plentiful.

But as the crops died, the animals stopped reproducing and the funds of the island community dwindled, they realized there was no way to smuggle animals from the mainland to feed the goddess, so they were forced to take more drastic measures.

Erisden founders Quinn, Frank and Malcolm discuss their plan of attack in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Erisden founders Quinn, Frank and Malcolm discuss their plan of attack in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

After arriving at Erisden, Thomas befriends a teen boy, Jeremy, the son of Quinn, and tells him of his quest to find his sister. Jeremy tells him that he had seen Jennifer on one of the boats and that the founders were holding her until the ransom was paid.

Thomas sneaks around the community after curfew and observes members participating in blood-letting and watches as Malcolm disappears into a hidden passageway under his home, a passage that leads to the goddess in chains and a masked man who feeds her the blood and bodies of the Islanders.

Thomas must fight against an island of followers who have vowed to follow the word of Malcolm and worship the island goddess or pay with their lives. His only goal is to free his sister or die trying.

Jennifer Richardson (Elen Rhys) is poked with sticks by the island children while being held for ransom by the Erisden community in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Jennifer Richardson (Elen Rhys) is poked with sticks by the island children while being held for ransom by the Erisden community in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Main Cast / Characters

Dan Stevens

Thomas Richardson

Michael Sheen

Malcolm Howe

Mark Lewis Jones

Quinn

Lucy Boynton

Andrea Howe (Malcolm's daughter)

Paul Higgins

Frank

Bill Milner

Jeremy (Frank's son)

Kristine Froseth

Ffion (Quinn's daughter)

Elen Rhys

Jennifer Richardson

Sharon Morgan

The goddess

Ffion (Kristine Froseth) and Andrea (Lucy Boynton) discuss Ffion's possible pregnancy in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Ffion (Kristine Froseth) and Andrea (Lucy Boynton) discuss Ffion's possible pregnancy in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Behind The Scenes

Gareth Evans

Writer, Director, Producer, Editor

Aram Tertzakian

Producer

Ed Talfan

Producer

XYZ Films

Production Company

Severn Screen

Production Company

One More One Productions

Production Company

Netflix

Distributed by

Memorable Quotes

Quinn 'purifies' Jeremy in the town square in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Quinn 'purifies' Jeremy in the town square in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

  • Throughout the film I developed a real hatred for Quinn, and one of his lines that gave me chills, simply because of pure evil behind it, was when he had Jeremy strapped to the table in the town square, preparing to 'purify' him, he leans down and whispers into Jeremy's ear, "I've wanted this". Those three simple words made my skin crawl.
  • After witnessing an innocent man, mistaken for a spy, be beaten and subsequently killed by Malcolm's guards, fellow Erisden founder Frank is packing his boat to leave the island for good. He tells Malcolm, "I'll go to my grave washing the blood of that wee soul from my hands." He knows that the man was innocent, and he knows that his death will haunt him forever.

Raves

The goddess of Erisden island (Sharon Morgan) in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

The goddess of Erisden island (Sharon Morgan) in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

I like the look of the goddess. When she's seen out in the forest, she is beautiful with a gown that flows as she glides. However, when we see her in her captive state, she's aged and looks more ragged.

The gritty look of the movie is great; the dingy, earth tones used for the sets, and the slightly dimmed appearance give the film a gloomy feel that works well with the story. I also love the mixture of British and Irish accents, letting the viewers know that these people have come from different parts of Great Britain to be part of this community.

Nitpick

Thomas' map of the Erisden community in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Thomas' map of the Erisden community in 'Apostle', a Netflix Original (2018).

Although I've looked at the photo over and over, I still cannot make out what Thomas wrote on the handmade map of the community. It was supposed to be a vital piece of information, yet it's completely illegible, at least to me.

There are times when the storyline becomes a little confusing. I still don't know why the ticket Thomas had to board the boat to Erisden was marked, did they recognize his name when he purchased the ticket? If so, they should've known it was him upon arrival because he used his real name and not an alias.

If Quinn is holding Andrea and Jennifer captive so he can basically make them his breeding slaves, their children to be given up as a sacrifice to the goddess, then why didn't he let Ffion carry her baby to term and use it for a sacrifice as well? He said that Ffion's baby would be born deformed, does that make it an unacceptable sacrifice? But if that were true than any child born to him and either of these two women could potentially have the same deformities and be deemed unacceptable as well, so what's the point?

I'm also confused by the goddess' imprisonment. Her physical body is chained to what looks to be a briar patch, yet she is able to chase after Thomas in a very physical body at one point. How is that possible? And if it is possible, how does chaining her make a difference, she's obviously able to carry on with 'life' anyway.

Finally, as with the movie 'The Open House', I found the loud screeching music to be over the top and annoying. I understand setting the scene with intense music, but I will never understand the sound design that resembles a group of elementary children on their first day holding a violin.

Would I Recommend?

This movie had some great intense moments, and if you like movies with a religious cult plotline, this movie would probably be one for you and I'd recommend watching. I enjoyed the movie, but there were down times when I started to lose interest, and some of the plot holes took me out of the movie for a bit as I questioned what was actually going on.

On my scale of Buy/Theater/Rent/Netflix, I would say that I'd see this one in the theater, but the obnoxious screeching throughout the film would probably get under my skin too much, so I'll have to drop it down to a rental.

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