Based on a graphic novel by the same name, The Reverend brings a new addition to the vampire genre with this film written and directed by Neil Jones.
Having just finished seminary school, a new reverend (Stuart Brennan) arrives at his new parish set in idyllic countryside – a quaint portrait of a typically British village. Juxtaposing the peace and tranquillity of his surroundings is the horror that befalls him one wet and windy night when a mysterious girl arrives on his doorstep.
Forever to be challenged by their beliefs and virtue, vicars play the perfect victims to the devil’s work, something that Jones uses to his advantage in his directing. Baby-faced Brennan is the perfect casualty for the mysterious girl who oozes sexual confidence to conflict with any man of the cloth’s faith. The brief interaction between the two contradicting characters ends with predicted results, leaving the virtuous vicar quite changed.
After waking from the vampire of all hangovers, the reverend finds himself quite thirsty; a thirst seemingly unquenchable by tea…
As far as horrors go, The Reverend brings nothing new to the genre. Delivering evil in the form of an attractive Brazilian girl (Marcia Do Vales) with a tight dress is an old trick, as is the strange old man with a very superfluous role as the devil himself (Rutger Hauer). Where The Reverend excels slightly, however, is in the unusual transformation in perceptions from villainous vampire to one who puts his “thirst” to good use – on the local pimps and pests.
In between preaching and disposing of the neighbouring wasters, the reverend strikes up an unlikely acquaintance with a prostitute (Emily Booth). Booth’s performance is rather insubstantial, and her character only highlights Brennan’s lack of charisma. Perhaps director Jones was proving the point that the vicar is so detached from his desires that he doesn’t even succumb to a hooker’s charms. However, whatever Jones was attempting, it didn’t quite work.
Adding to the overall negative vibe this film exudes is a dull, monotone voice-over from Brennan himself. Describing thoughts in his head, the monologue adds nothing to the film except to grate away at the audience leaving them asking exactly how many seconds before recording was Brennan handed the script?
An accidental positive in The Reverend is the pimp, played by Shane Ritchie, who just about earns this film its one star. Although his demise is pretty quick after his introduction, the few precious minutes we get with the coke-snorting, whore-handling individual lightens the film momentarily and gives promise to better things, perhaps a dark comedy, providing the vast part of the script was written.
Overall, it is safe to say The Reverend will leave you praying…probably only for the film’s end though…
Watch the trailer here