Apocalyptic (2014) | This Aussie doomsday cult horror is a nerve-racking descent into fantatical madness…
Interested in making a documentary about cults, TV reporter Jodie Black (Jane Barry) and her cameraman Kevin (Geoff Pinfield), head to the hills to do some research. After encountering two young girls deep in the bush, they are invited into a secretive community inhabited only by women and young girls and led by the charismatic Michael Godson (David Macrae).
At first all seems idyllic, theirs is a self-sufficient community based on daily prayers and love. But events soon unsettle Jodie and Kevin, especially Michael having his pick of the women and girls each night, including little Amy (Ashleigh Gregory). Then there’s the prophecy which Michael predicts will happen in three stages: the moving of the men, the screaming of the girls, and the crossing over to the new world.
When one of the girls has an epileptic fit and is tied to a tree during a freezing cold night, Kevin wants out. But with no way of locating their car, the couple find themselves trapped. Then comes the horrific discovery of a mass grave and the terrible realisation that the second stage of the prophecy is already underway…
BUSH BOUND FOLK HORROR
Director Glenn Trigg fuses the found footage genre with elements of folk horror to create an Aussie chiller that rises above its low budget trappings, thanks to the sombre-looking landscapes, naturalistic performances and a tightly constructed scenario.
The editing is intentionally choppy to make it feel like we are watching raw footage (Kevin’s not a particularly good camera operator by the way). And while the found footage device is evident throughout, there are moments where you totally forget, and it’s in those scenes where the film’s ambition peeks through: best captured by Kevin’s shaky camera as the women and girls pray or frolic around the mist-shrouded Australian bush. In fact, if it weren’t for the distinctive Aussie accents, you’d swear this was a British folk horror, as it strongly evokes 1970s classics like The Wicker Man and Blood on Satan’s Claw. But while those centred on pagan and satanic cults, this one’s about a nutty Christian sect looking forward to doomsday. Stay until the end, and you’ll see what I mean.
If there’s one criticism, it’s in David Macrae’s performance as Michael, whose quite stilted in his delivery and looks as though he’s having trouble remembering his lines. And while both Jane Barry and Geoff Pinfield look comfortable in their roles, Barry is no scream queen – her cries sound like a dingo on heat. The film does makes good use of the semi-rural Australia locations, including a local Baptist church. But I wonder what they thought of a film which puts religious fanaticism and blind faith under a horror spotlight?. All in all, an inspired effort for a Down Under indie, especially one that was shot in just seven days over two months.
The UK DVD release also features a 37-minute ‘Making of’ featurette, director’s commentary, trailer and also trailers for other Monster Pictures releases.
Favourite line: ‘Your standing on a finger’
Posted on August 7, 2014, in Horror, Might See and tagged Apocalyptic, Australian horror, David Macrae, Geoff Pinfield, Glenn Trigg, Horror, Jane Elizabeth Barry, Might See, Monster Pictures. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.