When newly-ordained priest (Stuart Brennan) is bitten by a vampire shortly after his arrival in a rural English village, he embraces his affliction like a modern-day Job to help a local prostitute (Emily Booth) escape her psycho pimp (Shane Ritchie) and save a wayward youth from falling in with a local villain (Tamar Hassan).
This British indie horror from Neil Jones has a neat premise and boasts the hell raising talents of Rutger Hauer, Doug Bradley and Giovanni Lombardo Radice. But its miniscule budget is evident. Stuart Brennan is quite charismatic as God’s new hit man on Earth, while Emily Booth (best known for her horror comedy roles) invests real sensitivity in the role of streetwalker Tracy. But it’s EastEnders actor Shane Ritchie who excels. His pimp is one nasty dude and Ritchie plays him to the hilt.
Shame then that Rutger Hauer and Doug Bradley are only reduced to cameos. Judging from the DVD cover, I was expecting Hauer to follow his Hobo With A Shotgun tour de force with another genre-busting action role. But he only appears in the opening scene to banter Clash of the Titans-like with veteran Italian horror icon Radice – who plays the Almighty to Hauer’s Satan. Meanwhile, Bradley (best known as Pinhead in the Hellraiser films) has a mere walk-on role as the Reverend’s boss on Earth.
The film is supposed to be based on graphic novel (still in production, I believe), but it doesn’t have the look of a graphic novel, and the twangy southern guitar music is at odds with the movie’s very English village setting. It may not be the new Wicker Man, but The Reverend certainly tries to inject new blood into the vampire genre. Maybe a few more tweaks could have helped it along the way.
3 August – in UK cinemas & FilmFlex
6 August – on DVD from Metrodome Releasing