A young man’s life slowly begins to unravel as he searches for answers in this emotional film about life and death.
Luke Hunter is a teenager who loves to skateboard, do artwork, and hang out with certain friends, such as popular kid Stan and outcast Fang. Things at home are up and down as his relationship with his mother is good while his father paints a different picture of their son. However, when he foresees that Stan is to do in a very bad accident, at first he thinks its make believe. That is, until he learns that Stan was killed when he was hit by a truck. Shocked by what has happened, Luke isn’t prepared for what’s to come.
The news of Stan’s death has caused Luke to become even more of an outcast, with some bullies calling him the “Prophet of Death”. Even when Luke has some more premonitions, he attempts to thwart them but to no avail. Luke also begins to harbor feelings for Stan’s girlfriend Faith, who becomes to grow close to Luke all while being on the outs with Fang, who may be harboring some secrets himself. When Luke forsees a possible tragic end for Fang, he is determined to find a way to put an end to the “curse” that plagues him.
Normally, when you see a film about one foreseeing death, it usually would mean a horror film. Thankfully, this is more of a coming of age tale, based on a novel by Joanne Proulx, about an outcast who must cope with his ability to predict death and how it will affect his life. The film brings an emotional sense of teenage life with showing how something tragic as death can bring people close together in the long run.
Cameron Monaghan, who will most likely be forever known as the Joker on Gotham, is great as Luke, who with his long hair, looks like a typical 90’s era skateboard teen fanatic. He plays off as an outcast who has friends with both a fellow outcast but also the most popular kid in school. Monaghan is the driving force of the film as someone who deals with life and death as his visions make him in the eyes of others, a freak and for a news reporter, a juicy story. Thankfully, Juliette Lewis steps in and attempts to make light of her son’s newfound situation and attempts to help him through it from a family viewpoint.
Former Disney Channel star Peyton List brings a sense of grounding for Monaghan as Faith, the girlfriend of late popular kid Stan. The chemistry between Monaghan and List has such a natural feel that it helps the pacing of the film while Monaghan and co-star Grayson Gabriel is quite interesting as it feels like that of a friendship that has both its ups and downs. As fellow outcast Fang, Gabriel shows both support and reluctance towards Luke, the former when it comes to attempting to help him with his visions but the latter when it comes to the eventual bond with Faith. However, the power of friendship attempts to over the power of death when Luke does whatever he can to save his friend after he foresees his death as he has already lost one friend and will not lose another.
For what sounds a bit like it could be a horror film but is actually the complete opposite, Anthem of a Teenage Prophet is a surprisingly good coming of age film about coping with both life and death as seen through the eyes of someone who had enough on his plate only to have more of a burden added on him. Cameron Monaghan does quite well in the titular role and his chemistry with his co-stars just help things along as it all feels natural.
WFG RATING: A-
SP Releasing presents a Sepia Films production in association with Hand Picked Films. Director: Robin Hays. Producers: Tina Pehme and Kim Roberts. Writers: Elisha Matic, Andy Matic, and Joshua Close; based on the novel “Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet” by Joanne Proulx. Cinematography: Todd M. Duyn. Editing: Austin Andrews.
Cast: Cameron Monaghan, Grayson Gabriel, Peyton List, Juliette Lewis, Doug Pearl, Richard de Klerk, Alex MacNicoll, Alex McKenna, Patti Allen, Beau Daniels, Sebastian Greaves, Joshua Close, Danny Woodburn, Spencer List.
The film comes to select theaters and VOD platforms on January 11 from SP Releasing.