This is looking less and less likely to be a regular occurrence in a world where studios are snatching up rights to every comic before the first issue has even gone to print. So it is the case with The Reverend, a film based on a graphic novel which even the film’s own website lists as ‘coming soon’ and whose pages we glimpse in the opening credits further confusing an already schizophrenic movie.
The film starts well enough with Rutger Hauer as a character who may as well have ‘The Devil’ and a down arrow hanging around his forehead, approaching a bishop about the soul of a young man he wants. This scene is intriguing and well-acted enough to lead you to believe that you could be about to see something special but sadly it’s all downhill from here.
We then move to a small Welsh village with young reverend (Stuart Brennan) arriving in town and making himself known to the delightful old folk who attend his parish. The rev also comes into contact with Harold Hicks (Tamer Hassan) a local bigwig who seems to have ties to some dodgy goings on in the nearest city and doesn’t take to kindly to new faces. One night the reverend is visited by a comely young girl who turns out to be after his neck and after sustaining a bite he finds he craves human blood. Confused and alone, he goes searching for answers and this brings him to the city where he meets prostitute Tracy (Emily Booth) and her viscous pimp Prince (Shane Richie, yes really). The reverend rescues Tracy from her plight and this brings him into further disrepute with Hicks and the reverend becomes some kind of vigilante type trying to free the Postman Pat esque village from Hicks’ evil clutches.
First things first. The Reverend is awful. Nothing about this film works because it’s so conflicted about exactly what it wants to be. It’s not a vampire film because The Reverend himself goes out in daylight and doesn’t seem to crave the neck of everyone he comes into contact with. It’s not a hard-boiled crime film because the characters are just too unbelievable and all the action seems to have been filmed on one country lane in Buckinghamshire somewhere. Finally it’s not a black comedy aimed at organised religion because the badly acted internal questioning from Brennan and especially his late night conversation with Doug Bradley are unintentionally hilarious.
The performances are all off kilter and misjudged. Brennan is too wet to suggest a world of pain and conflict internally and Tamer Hassan is like a refuge from a Guy Ritchie film who wandered into the wrong set. There is a local policeman in the plot whose performance is so bad it makes the Hollyoaks cast look like a roster of our finest thespians. Ironically the best performance is probably by Shane Richie and I never thought I would type those words in a million years.
So the film is bad but may have redeemed itself with its violence and gore but sadly it even fluffs this aspect. The Reverend bites people and presumably stakes them although it’s so badly choreographed he could just be tickling them and there is just a burst of flame fired up from below camera. There is no graphic throat ripping and no melting bodies just oddly shot scenes involving fire and grunting.
The Reverend feels like it could have had potential once but from its odd bluesy country guitar soundtrack onwards you know you are watching something that has been ruined in the execution. Avoid at all costs.