THE CHURCH (2018) Reviews and overview

 

‘He is watching’

The Church is a 2018 American supernatural horror feature film about the titular location where literally all Hell breaks loose!

Written and directed by Dom Frank, the Hard Floor production stars Bill Moseley, Ashley C. Williams, Lisa Wilcox, Keith Stallworth and Clint Howard.

Plot:

The minister of a once vibrant, landmark Baptist church, now struggling to survive, is the sole hold-out in a decaying Philadelphia neighbourhood earmarked for gentrification.  But ultimately, the preacher’s steely resolve to preserve his family’s evangelical legacy in the community and dwindling congregation dissolves under relentless pressure from his status-seeking wife and greedy church leaders—Lured by cash bribes and promises from unscrupulous developers to establish a flashy “mega-ministry” elsewhere.

The-Church-2018-movie-film-review-reviews-Bill-Moseley

Soon, the spirits of congregational members deeply wronged of centuries past – stirred from the disquiet of their graves by the remorseless trespasses of another generation – begin to make their displeasure known. As the sinners, abruptly and inexplicably bound within the confines of the sanctuary, begin to fall prey to unseen and ominous forces, they must all re-examine their choices and bow to the will of the covenant … only to reveal the righteous among them.

Reviews:

“Frank in his debut as a director shows his lack of experience and budget to develop his idea. The important events of the plot take a lot of time to take place and when they happen, they are so predictable that are rendered ineffective. And when you think that things could be no worse, the special effects appear. I don’t even know how to describe the special effects in a way that capture how awful they look.” 10th Circle

“Nothing works, and everything clashes horribly with everything else – it’s a cinematic trainwreck of biblical proportions, a roller coaster of side-splitting laughter. There isn’t much in the way of original content to recommend in this experience beyond the film’s obvious use as easy fodder. The earnestness in which The Church was made ensures its status as an endearing failure, though sadly not as much else.” Film Threat

“There are a few times where the cheesiness feels purposeful, like the filmmakers intended for the laughs, but more often than not, the laughs are unintended. By the time the ending is upon us, the production is getting just as crazy as the actor’s on-set. It’s like the filmmakers threw every trick at the wall and just hoped something will stick.” Flickering Myth

“Direction and photography are competent, but there’s just not much here in the way of interesting effects, gore makeups, etc., or genuine scares […] the most interesting thing about The Church for me was seeing Bill Moseley doing so well with such a change-of-pace role. But as a horror film, it scarcely reaches the level of nightmare for which it so earnestly strives.” HK and Cult Film News

” …there are some great aerial shots showing off the city of brotherly love and some good uses of local locations, although the plot and editing are constantly unintentionally funny. Scenes reaching for gravitas fall flat and turn into comedic gold. Even the actor Bill Moseley, usually an excellent horror staple, is unmemorable and even feels out of place. The writing is chock full of religious puns and other cringe-worthy dialogue.” Irish Film Critic

“The plot is just silly, leading up to a finale that I found more funny than fearsome. The silliness goes on past the end also with not one but two little stingers hidden within the end credits. To its credit despite not much happening I didn’t think The Church was actually a boring film. However, the over-reliance on average looking CGI for even the most basic of effects, and the complete lack of frights ruined any sort of atmosphere.” The Rotting Zombie

“It comes down to a confrontation that doesn’t do much except let Clint Howard get his five minutes of screen time. It also features some CGI that even SyFy would reject as unusable. Then we get a final sequence that ends it on as big a cop-out as possible. The Church was shot in Philadelphia’s First Corinthian Baptist Church and Frank makes good use of the setting.” Voices from the Balcony

“Budget CGI effects make this horror film a complete comedy but I’m not sure writer and director Dom Frank knew he had a comedy in the making. Clint Howard’s role as The Spirit could have been so amusing but it seems The Church forgot to have fun in its horror sermon.” Without Your Head

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Release:

The Church was released theatrically in select movie locations in the US on October 5, 2018.

Cast and characters:

Clint Howard … Alexander James / The Spirit
Bill Moseley … Pastor James
Ashley C. Williams … Elizabeth Haines
Lisa Wilcox … Joan Laurels
Holly Zuelle … Veronica Leeks
Kenneth McGregor … Deacon Williams
Deitra Leak … Melanie Banks
Shaun Paul Costello … Daniel Greene
Victoria Gates … Jennifer Lawson
Meghan Strange … Wicked Family Mother
Keith Stallworth … Simon Adu
Joe Barlam … Auctioneer
Ameerah Briggs … Trustee Board Member
Vito LoGrasso … Adrian Seltzer
Sarkis Ninos … Police Officer
James Collins Jr. … Board Member
Scott Lehman … Jimmy the bartender
Marcia Myers … Board Member (as Marcia C. Myers)
Jack Hoffman … Brett Hoffman
Alexis Phillips … Wicked Family Daughter
Michelle Romano … Loretta James
Matthew Nadu … Ronald Lawson
Daniel Wyland … Andrei Arcos
Wesley Green … Auctioneer
David Boorboor … Real Estate Agent
Michael Connolly … Joseph Moore
Peter Mason … Ghost Husband
Marie A. Garton … Board Member
Mike Perkins … Church Member (as Mike Perkins)

Filming locations:

First Corinthian Baptist Church, Philadelphia

Technical details:

81 minutes

Notes:

Not to be confused with Michele Soavi’s flawed yet vastly superior1989 film of the same name.

Teaser:

Trailer:

YouTube reviews:

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