Question everything. Answer nothing.

As a subscriber to AMC’s newly released horror streaming service Shudder, I love browsing through to find old favorites that I’ve seen before and new movies I’ve never heard of. It’s a great way to find horror films you may not find anywhere else.

I decided to pick a movie at random on the site to review. There’s no real science behind it, other than “judging a book by it’s cover,” so to say, and checking something out that looks interesting based on the cover image and the brief synopsis provided.

The first movie I landed on is called Acolytes, a 2008 Australian film starring Joel Edgerton (most recently famous for writing, directing, and starring in the hit thriller The Gift.) I just saw (and loved) The Gift, so I figured I’d give this one a chance.

Admittedly, I knew little about Edgerton before The Gift and didn’t even realize he was Australian (I know, go ahead and revoke my film lover card) and was excited to watch this indie release. The film follows three teenagers who get caught up in a tangled web of murder and vengeance, but it’s definitely not your average teen slasher flick. Mark stumbles upon a man burying a body in the suburban woods of Australia, and he and his two friends (James and Chasely) decide to dig the body up, discovering a young girl’s body. They make a feeble attempt to contact the police from a pay phone, and instead track the man down and enter his home. They then decide to try and use this murderer as leverage and blackmail him into killing Gary Parker, who was in prison for torturing and raping the two young boys but is now free.

Naturally, this backfires on the kids (ah, teenagers) and they quickly realize trying to blackmail a murderer isn’t such a smart idea. Throw in another missing teenager and the web woven is undoubtedly tangled.

I won’t give too much away, but I will say that the movie is slow in pace until the last 40 minutes or so. Then things get good, and you’re left on the edge of your seat. The cinematography of this film, which won awards in Australia, is stunning — both the very first and very last scenes are beautiful. But the pacing is odd and it struggled to keep my interest at times. It’s not really a horror movie — more of a psychological thriller with horror scenes injected into it — but it’s not a bad little movie. I’m generally a fan of international movies and love comparing dialogue, storylines, and aesthetics to American films, which is another reason why I chose this one. All in all, Acolytes is worth checking out if you’re looking to see a different, albeit similarly creepy, side of Joel Edgerton.

 

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About The Author

My cousin forced me to watch Child’s Play when I was around five years old, and I’ve loved horror movies ever since. I’ll watch anything (the gorier the better) but faint at the sight of blood in real life. Let’s be internet friends -- follow me on Twitter @mrstschinkel.