FILMMovie Reviews

Movie Review: Priest

Characters

Acting in this film is extraordinarily bland. Priest has some contrived angst, and with what little character development we’re given, can be justified, but he’s stuck in that one gear, it’s angst or nothing. The villain (named Black Hat… sweet jumping this is a lazily told story) gives likely the best role in this film, though it’s still nothing to really brag about. The supporting cast was wooden and one-dimensional and so meaningless that only a handful are actually given real names. It’s weak, very, very weak.

Sound
The music wasn’t bad, but hardly memorable; I did feel that the score suited the events very nicely, but nothing stuck in my mind afterwards. The audio engineering was quite well done, as this movie was made very stylistically, the sound effects did make the world feel more believable. Though the sound in this movie was possibly one of the strongest elements, this particular level of the presentation likely wouldn’t be getting praised so much if I wasn’t really looking for something nice to say.

Cinematography
Speaking of style, this is certainly the movie’s strongest asset. The film has a very impressive steam punk western feel to it and doesn’t deviate far from that look and feel. The sets are wonderful, from bustling cities to arid wastelands this movie has a terrific look and feel that does put the viewer into this shattered world. The lens filters are tastefully done and don’t overstay their welcome while the CGI is done quite nicely and blends very well into the live action shots.

Final Thoughts
I said I was going to touch on the story again, and this may lead to a bit of a mini rant, I apologize in advance.

I didn’t hate this movie, but I was disappointed. I’d been looking forward to this movie for a while and felt incredibly let down. This movie had so much to work with, but neglected it all for a called-in storyline with paper cut-out characters.

For starters.

As a Christian, I should likely be bothered by the image Hollywood usually portrays on “the church” and those who attend it, but I accept that there are those out there that cause a lot of harm and damage and then use their faith as an excuse for it, so I can accept when a writer and director use this aspect for context; but when it’s not used as a context then it just seems pretentious. The church compared to the Nazis is nothing new, and at times can be a strong writing tool when done properly. V For Vendetta was a great example of this, as it gave depth to why religious heads used oppression and faith as a means of control and power, The Book of Eli flat out says that’s the point they’re going for; it’s a legitimate story arc as I’ve encountered people who use faith as a means of destruction rather than proper reasons as well and can sympathize with those who feel that way, but this movie just goes straight to it and says “we’re the church so therefore we are evil and oppressive and use our standing and faith to bring people to their knees”. I’m sure the point was some kind of contrived political/spiritual message, but don’t try to convey a message when you don’t have one to deliver; the battle of Biblical, divine commandments versus man-made ideology and the condemnation one has for their fellow man is something that can be used for very solid and thought-provoking narratives, this movie was simply too lazy to run with the ball they tried to pick up.

Next, the writing. This story is predictable and tiring, the big “dun dun duuuun” moments are painfully executed and can be predicted minutes into the film, making them meaningless when they’re shown an hour later; add to it that these big reveals have no follow-up whatsoever and are just accepted and then life goes on makes the movie feel like even the writer, director and actors don’t care about the plot.

And as long as I’m on about the plot.

Man against vampire has gotten old, like old old. I can appreciate that vampires are popular, but why does everything have to be vampires? Before this movie started there were two more trailers about vampire movies, enough is enough already! There was very little need to have the monsters be vampires, if it’s a holy battle why not use demons? The monsters look and act demonic, and the writing is so lazy that this easily could have been altered. A church against demons war movie would have at least been something that hasn’t been done to death lately, and if there’s going to be a story of the church battling vampires, then have some backstory why those are the two factions at war; why the Catholic church specifically? Why not the Muslims being the ones to save the day? Or the Jewish? Hell switch it up and have the vampires be the leaders of a Buddhist temple going toe to toe with a Southern Baptist Revival church I don’t know just give us something with narrative merit, please! One of the tellings of Dracula had him start as a man who renounced his faith and held a personal grudge against God and His followers, you can reference that, anything!

Needless to say, I just can’t recommend this movie, there’s nothing to it; I have no idea how they can plan to make this a movie franchise (yes there’s an open ending that leaves what little story arc there is open to a sequel or more) It’s contrived, has a pretentious anti-church presentation with no merit, cheaply cashes in on the vampire craze and tries to make itself more complicated in all the wrong ways while denying the ways that could have helped it. This movie is a perfect example of style over substance, but at least it’s filled my vampire quota until the next Twilight… Dear God did I really just say that?

written by Lee Clifford

Okay, I’m not entirely sure what it is I just watched, so here’s a picture of a train wreck from the end of the film.

This image provides a better description of this movie than it naturally intended.

Story
So, Priest is a steam punk-western-jump scare horror-monster-action movie… yes it was made a lot more complicated than it needed to be.

In the future (post-apocalyptic at that, naturally) the ancient war of man against vampires has finally come to an end, or so mankind thinks! Dun dun duuuuun!… yeah get used to that because there are a lot of those.

I’m likely getting ahead of myself, here’s a quick history lesson:
Throughout the ages, man and vampire have battled, and just as it seemed mankind was on the brink of extinction, the church created and trained a faction of warriors, titled Priests, that specialize in vampire slaying… why they never thought to do that in the centuries before is beyond me but hey whatever. It seems the war has been won and the vampires all but abolished, with the few stragglers being held in concentration camps; yes the church is being held in comparison to the Nazis, this is something else that will be covered later.

Since the church is evil and corrupt in Hollywood’s eyes, they disband the Priests and force them to re-enter a society that, instead of heralding them as heroes, shun them with contempt. Here’s where we meet our hero, the former Priest named… um… Priest… Okay yes the story and characters are weak as can be I can’t legitimately argue this fact. Long story short, Priest has haunting visions of his past, and that past comes back to him in reality by vampires abducting his niece. Priest assembles a ragtag band to rescue her and fight the vampire menace.

The story is incredibly bland, it’s a premise that is nothing unfamiliar but still made no effort to stand out, it’s your standard antihero rescues the day tale that had no extra effort put into it; I want to get more into my thoughts on the story telling in a bit but first I’ll cover the other bases.

written by Lee Clifford

Okay, I’m not entirely sure what it is I just watched, so here’s a picture of a train wreck from the end of the film.

This image provides a better description of this movie than it naturally intended.

Story
So, Priest is a steam punk-western-jump scare horror-monster-action movie… yes it was made a lot more complicated than it needed to be.

In the future (post-apocalyptic at that, naturally) the ancient war of man against vampires has finally come to an end, or so mankind thinks! Dun dun duuuuun!… yeah get used to that because there are a lot of those.

I’m likely getting ahead of myself, here’s a quick history lesson:
Throughout the ages, man and vampire have battled, and just as it seemed mankind was on the brink of extinction, the church created and trained a faction of warriors, titled Priests, that specialize in vampire slaying… why they never thought to do that in the centuries before is beyond me but hey whatever. It seems the war has been won and the vampires all but abolished, with the few stragglers being held in concentration camps; yes the church is being held in comparison to the Nazis, this is something else that will be covered later.

Since the church is evil and corrupt in Hollywood’s eyes, they disband the Priests and force them to re-enter a society that, instead of heralding them as heroes, shun them with contempt. Here’s where we meet our hero, the former Priest named… um… Priest… Okay yes the story and characters are weak as can be I can’t legitimately argue this fact. Long story short, Priest has haunting visions of his past, and that past comes back to him in reality by vampires abducting his niece. Priest assembles a ragtag band to rescue her and fight the vampire menace.

The story is incredibly bland, it’s a premise that is nothing unfamiliar but still made no effort to stand out, it’s your standard antihero rescues the day tale that had no extra effort put into it; I want to get more into my thoughts on the story telling in a bit but first I’ll cover the other bases.

written by Lee Clifford

Okay, I’m not entirely sure what it is I just watched, so here’s a picture of a train wreck from the end of the film.

This image provides a better description of this movie than it naturally intended.

Story
So, Priest is a steam punk-western-jump scare horror-monster-action movie… yes it was made a lot more complicated than it needed to be.

In the future (post-apocalyptic at that, naturally) the ancient war of man against vampires has finally come to an end, or so mankind thinks! Dun dun duuuuun!… yeah get used to that because there are a lot of those.

I’m likely getting ahead of myself, here’s a quick history lesson:
Throughout the ages, man and vampire have battled, and just as it seemed mankind was on the brink of extinction, the church created and trained a faction of warriors, titled Priests, that specialize in vampire slaying… why they never thought to do that in the centuries before is beyond me but hey whatever. It seems the war has been won and the vampires all but abolished, with the few stragglers being held in concentration camps; yes the church is being held in comparison to the Nazis, this is something else that will be covered later.

Since the church is evil and corrupt in Hollywood’s eyes, they disband the Priests and force them to re-enter a society that, instead of heralding them as heroes, shun them with contempt. Here’s where we meet our hero, the former Priest named… um… Priest… Okay yes the story and characters are weak as can be I can’t legitimately argue this fact. Long story short, Priest has haunting visions of his past, and that past comes back to him in reality by vampires abducting his niece. Priest assembles a ragtag band to rescue her and fight the vampire menace.

The story is incredibly bland, it’s a premise that is nothing unfamiliar but still made no effort to stand out, it’s your standard antihero rescues the day tale that had no extra effort put into it; I want to get more into my thoughts on the story telling in a bit but first I’ll cover the other bases.

written by Lee Clifford

Okay, I’m not entirely sure what it is I just watched, so here’s a picture of a train wreck from the end of the film.

This image provides a better description of this movie than it naturally intended.

Story
So, Priest is a steam punk-western-jump scare horror-monster-action movie… yes it was made a lot more complicated than it needed to be.

In the future (post-apocalyptic at that, naturally) the ancient war of man against vampires has finally come to an end, or so mankind thinks! Dun dun duuuuun!… yeah get used to that because there are a lot of those.

I’m likely getting ahead of myself, here’s a quick history lesson:
Throughout the ages, man and vampire have battled, and just as it seemed mankind was on the brink of extinction, the church created and trained a faction of warriors, titled Priests, that specialize in vampire slaying… why they never thought to do that in the centuries before is beyond me but hey whatever. It seems the war has been won and the vampires all but abolished, with the few stragglers being held in concentration camps; yes the church is being held in comparison to the Nazis, this is something else that will be covered later.

Since the church is evil and corrupt in Hollywood’s eyes, they disband the Priests and force them to re-enter a society that, instead of heralding them as heroes, shun them with contempt. Here’s where we meet our hero, the former Priest named… um… Priest… Okay yes the story and characters are weak as can be I can’t legitimately argue this fact. Long story short, Priest has haunting visions of his past, and that past comes back to him in reality by vampires abducting his niece. Priest assembles a ragtag band to rescue her and fight the vampire menace.

The story is incredibly bland, it’s a premise that is nothing unfamiliar but still made no effort to stand out, it’s your standard antihero rescues the day tale that had no extra effort put into it; I want to get more into my thoughts on the story telling in a bit but first I’ll cover the other bases.