WARNING: There are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Apostle.
So please don’t read ahead if you haven’t seen the film. Instead, why not just log into Netflix and immediately right that wrong, as Gareth Evans’ horror film deserves your attention.
“Apostle” ends in a tantalizingly ambiguous fashion.
Come the end of the period horror, Dan Stevens’ Thomas Richardson has killed the deity that Michael Sheen’s Prophet Malcolm has kept imprisoned. However, he has been stabbed multiple times, and is clearly on the brink of death.
However, during his exchange with the deity, she passed on her powers to Thomas, something that becomes obvious in the film’s final moments when we see him miraculously recover from his stab wounds.
We then see Malcolm stand over Thomas and smile, knowing fully well that he has a new prophet on his hand that can rejuvenate his religion.
I recently had the great fortune to speak to Gareth Evans about “Apostle,” during which time he broke down its ending. But there was one more question I had right at the end of our discussion.
Because, considering how ambiguous the ending is and how Malcolm and Thomas’ story is clearly just beginning, as well as the fact that Evans has previously made a sequel to “The Raid,” I wanted to know whether he harbored any ambition to make a follow-up to “Apostle.”
“I have no interest in doing a sequel,” Evans insisted. “That’s that. That story has ended exactly where it needed to end.”
All of which is a tad disappointing, as well as completely understandable, because Evans clearly shows a penchant and skill for the British folk-horror genre.
That’s especially true for the torture scene involving Bill Milner’s Jeremy, which Evans clearly had a great time directing. In fact, the director talked us through this excruciating sequence, revealing why he approached it in such a detailed fashion.
“The idea of there being a sequence that is a ritual, and showing it unfold is a staple of the British folk-horror genre.”
“Those scenes are haunting and terrifying and barbaric, but sometimes they don’t have any emotional weight, because they usually happen to people we haven’t seen.”
“One of the things I wanted to achieve was to make it emotionally painful. This is a difference between ‘The Raid’ films and this. Those film are designed to feel adrenalized, like they are taking you along for the ride, like a rollercoaster.”
“With ‘Apostle,’ it is a very different film tonally. So when it came to the ritualistic parts of the film I wanted them to hurt and feel painful. I was very methodical with the camerawork.”
“I wanted to show you the mechanics of how the machine works. And just at the moment it is going to be used, that is when I will cut away.”
“I will then cut to the devastation of the villagers that are watching it unfold. I wanted to show that the villagers are not onside with this.”
“This might be a ritual that is part of the village and community. But a lot of them are disturbed and disgusted by what is happening.”
“But they are too afraid to change anything. Because the person who is leading the charge right now is basically a military dictator.”
“Apostle” is now on Netflix.