Thought for the day – does an indie film about a cult automatically qualify as a ‘cult’ film?

Patrick O’ Bell capitalises on recent documentaries to make a horror films which plays part shockumentary regarding modern day cults. The story follows two survivors of a mass suicide and their literal struggle to escape the clutches of the cult as they are pursued by the groups enforcer. The film switches its perspective from the past – and the events which lead up to the couple being involved in the cult in the first place, the cat and mouse invasion and stock footage of ‘real’ life cults and their media coverage.

The press release states, and I quote: “The [VERY] frightening THE BLESSED ONES is now available on Amazon Prime” – it might be available on Amazon Prime, but it is certainly not frightening, not in the slightest.

Indeed, this is a drama film with some violence, at best.

As such my review will perhaps appear lacking in critical analysis of subtext and the deeper meaning etc. As a film it is entertaining in parts, namely because there is jut so much going on. Whilst the acting isn’t mind blowing, there aren’t any weak performances which detract from the films serious nature. The documentary style of film making in certain parts helps to break up the exposition, whist the ongoing chase through the desert helps to build some tension and give you a reason to route for the characters once they are developed.

There is some violence in the film, and the effects are good. Whilst the enforcer is menacing, he is far from the horror stalker icon, just an obvious nod towards the intimidation involved in ensuring that cult members stay ‘loyal’ ones they are involved. The cults leader is a slimy bastard, preying on the desperate, offering all and delivering nothing. Indeed, the films cult is believable without exaggeration and it did give me an insight into how people are stupid/desperate enough to become involved.

Beyond this, however, the film struggles to offer more. Indeed, I think you would have to really be interested in cults, in which case the film will deliver. It has some twist and turns throughout, more so towards the end, but ultimately, for me at least, its plot was a little bland – i.e, yes there are loads of cults, and I agree, they are manipulative, false and controlling and…. – it’s the last bit which was missing.

Overall, a competent film from technical perspective, and I thought the constant change of perspectives, including the shockumentary stock footage sections were a nice touch, but, as a person who isn’t all that interested in the activities and dynamics of life within a cult, there wasn’t enough horror to keep me all that engaged, nor did the story offer me anything more.

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