- Elf 2017
The Faith Community
Robert A. Trezza for Vicious Apple Productions
directed by Faith R Johnson
starring Aidan Hart, Janessa Floyd, Jeffrey Brabant, Jeremy Harris, Oliver Palmer, Julia Feinberg, Michael Fiocco, Grant Johnson, Heather Johnson, Faith R. Johnson
written by Faith R Johnson, music by Julia Feinberg
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Hannah (Janessa Floyd) takes her best friends Andrew (Aidan Hart) and
Colin (Jeffrey Brabant) to a bible camp - to not only find salvation but
also to make a documentary about the camp. And especially Colin is too
much of a cynic to look for salvation, but he's a brilliant documentarian.
camp isn't all it was made out to be, it's deep in the woods, very basic
with everybody sleeping in tents and the only source of running water
being the nearby river. Also, the campleader who calls himself The
Messenger (Jeremy Harris) seems to be a bit of a nutjob, who can't
stop talking about the rapture, and how those who have (in his eyes)
disobeyed the Lord will burn in hell - about which he talks with a bit too
much glee for comfort. But then again, The Messenger puts all his
teachings into little musicals he likes to stage every few days, so how
bad can he be?
Eventually, Colin gets to speak to one of his followers
(Oliver Palmer), an Iraq-veteran who suffers from hallucinations and
thinks he sees the Devil who's on his trail, which freaks Colin out quite
a bit. But he's freaked out even more when during one of The Messenger's
musicals, two of his followers who have apparently committed sin are
killed pretty much live on stage - and somehow Colin is the only one who
thinks that's not right, even Hannah and Andrew seem to have undergone
some kind of brainwashing. But what's even more disturbing is that The
Messenger apparently doesn't believe that Colin and company are pure
enough to go to heaven once the rapture comes, and he might be interested
in sending them to hell a little sooner ...
Now I have to
admit, I wasn't very impressed about the way the "found footage"
approach was handled in this movie, the camera was a bit too shaky
throughout, too many shots were out of focus, and the random images that
were caught on film instead of the action were a bit too disorienting to
help the movie. What I was impressed though was the rather strong and
well-structured script of the movie that was really unsettling from start
to finish and really brought home its message about "blind faith gone
wrong" (definitely not a bad pun to the director's first name)
without trying to hammer it in. And add to this a very strong cast, and
you got yourself a pretty good movie after all!