The Bramfords have a new home, new jobs and a new beginning in the sleepy Kansas town of Stull; but being built on a demonic gateway to hell, the town has much more sinister plans in store for them. Every year, a ritual human sacrifice must take place to protect the town from the plague of a dark supernatural force, and guess who the next lambs to slaughter will be?
There really is a town in Kansas called Stull whose cemetery is believed to be one of the seven gateways to Hell. It’s already featured in an episode of TV’s Supernatural and now this maiden feature from Slash’s new film production company (the Guns N’ Roses guitarist also does the music) puts a fresh twist on the ubran legend, fusing it with elements from The Wicker Man and The Exorcist, to create a slow-burning old school horror that gradually cranks up the tension before unleashing a monstrous manifestation to wreak havoc on the sleepy town.
The cast are all excellent in their respective roles: Anne Heche is the loving mum Wendy, while Heche’s real-life partner James Tupper is her kindly pastor husband Dan. Jennifer Stone and Rebekah Brandes play the Bramfords teenage daughters Mary and Rebecca, who soon rue the day they drove into town, while Clancy Brown (recently seen in John Dies at the End) brings a menacing presence as Pastor Kingsman, whose job it is to keep Stull safe from demonic forces. Finally there’s Ethan Peck (Gregory Peck’s grandson) as Noah, a tortured young man who is selected by Kingsman to carry out the human sacrifice. But can he really go through with it?
Watching the creature evolve from formless liquid mass into its final frightening transformation (courtesy of Mike Elizalde’s Spectral Motion who did Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and X-Men: First Class) is what drives this creepfest and is the best thing about the movie. And while I would have like to have seen a bit more of the monster, what you get is worth the wait.