While his former collaborators are off making token appearances in naff Hollywood action fare, The Raid director Gareth Evans has taken a break from the Indonesian martial arts madness that made his name. The first look at his new Netflix feature, Apostle, looks more like The Wicker Man than The Master of the Flying Guillotine.
We already shared the first poster and our initial, breathless excitement for Apostle earlier in the year, and on the evidence of this first look at the film in action, that hype is not going to abate. Legion and Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens takes the lead as Thomas Richardson, a young man at the turn of the century who travels to a mysterious island in pursuit of his absent younger sister (Lucy Boynton).
When he arrives he discovers his sibling has come under the spell of a sinister cult (is there any other kind?), lead by charismatic demagogue (is there any other kind?) Prophet Malcom, played by Michael Sheen, who apparently can take on roles not based on real people. Although there’s certainly a wealth of real-life precedents for the predatory likes of Malcom…
The closing shots of this first trailer suggest that Evans hasn’t completely abandoned the bone-crunching action choreography of Merantau and The Raid films, but also that he hasn’t wholly embraced the gonzo gore of his contribution to the horror anthology V/H/S 2, “Safe Haven,” which also centred on an isolated cult albeit in an contemporary setting.
Apostle, conversely, appears to rely mainly on the atmosphere conjured by its visual style and the slowly building tension between Malcom and Richardson, which will no doubt spill over into the action sequences seen at the end of the trailer. Will Evans pull off his first shift from action spectacular to bonafide horror? Will it actually be scary? You won’t have to wait long to find out.
Apostle is scheduled to hit Netflix on October 12 2018.