MovieGoer20’s review published on Letterboxd:
Man the cast for this movie was stacked. I knew I needed to see this film based on the cast alone as it had many people that I really like. This definitely gained popularity recently too on Netflix so I was interested to see what this movie could do with this cast and quite the premise too which seemed like a recipe for something special.
I definitely enjoyed the running theme of this movie with how these characters are so desperate to feel God’s presence that they’re willing to do such drastic things that would ironically turn them away from God. It seems to actually be the Devil. What is in the water in this area to turn everyone so sadistic anyway? The religious stuff is very extreme but that’s the point. Sometimes very devoted people will do anything for their religion no matter how it affects other people. This cast is just fantastic. Tom Holland is excellent here and he just keeps getting better. His whole tortured character is portrayed in such a believable way by Holland and everything in this character’s life that has happened really makes you connect with him more. Bill Skarsgård is great as his father too who is a tortured veteran whose life only gets worse. I really want to see Skarsgård in more roles because the man can really act and it’s no different here because he shines in the screen time that he gets. Haley Bennett is a rising star and after her excellent performance in Swallow earlier this year, she is really making a name for herself and she might not be around for that long in this film, but she also did a great job with playing Skarsgård’s wife. Jason Clarke is an actor who I think gets too much hate at times. He can be a good actor but it’s just that he has chosen some pretty forgettable projects where he can’t be memorable. I personally thought he did good in Pet Sematary (2019) (fight me I still think it’s good). However Clarke gets a chance to show what he’s capable of here as a ritualistic serial killer and honestly it’s one of his best performances and even though it’s not the best performance in the movie, I think he is improving and actually pulled off the serial killer acting pretty convincingly so I had no problem with him. I just hope he keeps choosing good projects to show off his capabilities. Robert Pattinson is his usual amazing self this time as a disgusting preacher. His accent is very strange but I loved it even though it was totally ridiculous. He is somewhat limited but he really pulled off the douchebag evil preacher role very well. The way the man licks his fingers is even evil I mean come on. Harry Melling has started coming back into films recently and he also plays a crazy preacher but completely different from Pattinson and you’ll find out why. This character is something else let me tell you but Melling shines again as he always has played evil very well. Eliza Scanlen too, her character is just as bad as Holland when it comes to the darkness in their lives and she’s almost on Holland’s level performance wise as I felt so bad for her and we really see how much of a ticking time bomb this movie is because of this. Everything and everyone is doing these despicable acts for a reason and it just ends badly every time. Aside from the performances, there is a pretty jumbled story with all of these strange people all being connected somehow. It can definitely be messy at times but overall I thought it was a well done story with characters who were disturbing and interesting enough to want to see what crazy thing they’d do next. There’s a lot to take in and it does move pretty slow at times, but I think that’s the point because it feels like when someone dies in this movie, it’s a really big deal. I will say though that it did feel a little long and sometimes the slow moving is a little much. It’s gritty and dramatic which is what I wanted from it. Another thing I really didn’t like was the narration. I usually hate these kinds of narrations because it has to spell everything out for you like this is what’s happening get it? It just drones on and on and on at times. I really don’t like narration much at all honestly. There’s few exceptions where I think narration actually works and I wish movies would use it less and less. This didn’t really exceed my expectations aside from the performances but I still thoroughly enjoyed it despite how slow it could be. I know the point is that it’s a slow burn but there were a decent amount of dry moments to get through despite our extremely strong cast.
Conclusion: This is definitely one of Netflix’s better movies even if that isn’t saying much. The cast is so strong though and you should check it out just for the performances alone because they’re all really good. There’s a lot of violent and memorable moments that will stick with you and I mean that in a good way because of how the film pulls it off. While I didn’t love this film, it still was something I’m glad I sat through because it was a good experience with stellar acting and a bizarre but good story. Go check this out if you haven’t already because it’s a pretty solid flick overall.