The Church (USA, 2018)

Some big names in horror join forces on this tame religious horror film that proves that greed is never good.

For centuries, the local Baptist church in a Philadelphia neighborhood has been the number one place for the parishioners. However, Lawson, a land developer, has been attempting to buy the church so they can tear it down for means of gentrification. Pastor Eric James, the descendant of the church’s founder has constantly refuses to sell the property. Eric soon begins to feel the pressure from those around him, including his wife.

When a vote between three different groups and an offer Eric couldn’t refuse results in him deciding to sell the property, he meets with the land developer and his partners, Simon and Argos, along with one of the bishops and some of the supporters of the sale. However, Eric soon discovers he is about to pay the price of his decision. Supernatural forces begin to take over and kidnap and terrorize those they deem sinners. Argos is convinced from a story he heard as a kid in Romania may be responsible involving the spirits of his ancestors taking the impure souls within the church walls. Will Eric and the others be able to survive, or will they fall to the demonic forces that have taken over?

Written and directed by Dom Frank, this supernatural horror film does something of sheer novelty considering the cast involved. There is very minimal blood or gore as seen in most horror films. Instead, most of the scare scenes comprise of jump scares, Ghostbusters-like wind blowing, and the victims forced into another dimension within the big cross of the church.

The film is led by one of the greatest horror movie icons today, a man by the name of Bill Moseley. The actor, known for his roles in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 and Rob Zombie’s Firefly Saga, plays it straight as Pastor Eric James, who is conflicted with the pressure of selling his church to a greedy land developer. Eric is in fear of destroying his family legacy and finds himself surrounded by those who want Eric to go with the times, such as his wife and a fellow church leader and those who don’t want Eric to sell, including a Deacon. In a karmic move, the first victim just happens to be his wife, played by Michelle Romano, who only wants Eric to be happy…and rich.

The Human Centipede’s Ashley C. Williams plays the land developer’s wife, who supports her husband only because he wants to get away from his overbearing father. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 heroine Lisa Wilcox gives off a “screen queen” vibe in the role of Joan, a church leader who feels the Ghostbusters-like effects of what happens when greed takes over. Think of the opening scene in the library in the 1984 classic. Kudos goes to Daniel Wyland’s Argos as he explains a childhood legend may be responsible for what happens throughout the film. Look for a memorable cameo from Clint Howard that leads to a shocking final twist to the film.

The Church takes the supernatural horror film and tames It down a bit and that is totally okay. Bill Moseley plays it straight and a great “scream queen” from Lisa Wilcox along with Daniel Wyland’s Argos giving answers throughout the film with a lesson in mind: greed is never good. There are some pretty bad VFX in certain spots, but they go by quick.

WFG RATING: B-

Hard Floor Entertainment in association with + Entertainment and Honey Releasing presents a JAG Productions film. Director: Dom Frank. Producers: Dom Frank and Paul Irwin. Writer: Dom Frank. Cinematography: Tom Fanelle. Editing: Ed Marx.

Cast: Bill Moseley, Ashley C. Williams, Lisa Wilcox, Keith Stallworth, Matthew Nadu, Kenneth McGregor, Michelle Romano, Daniel Wyland, Holly Zuelle, Belinda Wilson, Clint Howard.

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