Putting the "B" in B-movie, The Evangelist arrives on home video on May 9th with ITN Distribution worldwide and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment here in the U.S.
Directed by Joseph Pepitone and co-written by Pepitone with brother Billy Pepitone based on a story by Keith Collins, The Evangelist tells the story of Bill Horton (Collins), who at seven-years-old watched as a bible-quoting serial killer murdered his mother before his very eyes.
It's 30 years later. Bill has grown up, a seemingly model citizen who spends most of his days cleaning, baking and believing. However, some traumas aren't just set aside. Billy has picked up the mantle of The Evangelist and inflicts his own brand of vengeance on anyone he finds wicked and leaving behind a bible. Inexplicably opening up to a psychiatrist he hears on the radio, Dr. Laura Cooper (Samantha Artese), he reveals his secret and she, in turn, contacts Detective Edward Legros (Michael Billy), whose experienced partner, Detective John Vance (Doug Bollinger), has some insights of his own into both the original case that was never closed and the new case that could be just beginning.
The Evangelist, which initially hit the festival circuit under the title Clean Cut, picked up the prizes for Best Horror Feature and Best Actor, Feature Horror at the Atlantic City Cinefest in 2015 and has been touring around the festival circuit since that time. Difficult to pigeonhole strictly into any particular genre, likely neither gory enough for traditional gorehounds yet also straightforward enough with its story that it's less suspenseful than one might want from a film, The Evangelist mostly rides the middle line between the two genres in telling an interesting, involving story based around compelling characters and elements of both horror and thriller. It should be noted, however, that the film's violence does pick up toward film's end as paths cross and truths comes out.
As Bill, Keith Collins (The Meat Puppet) makes for a jarring figure with equal parts disturbing normalcy and quiet, seething rage and unresolved trauma. Collins manages moments of being completely sympathetic, a fact that may make his character even more disturbing.
While The Evangelist centers around Collins's performance, it's a strong ensemble piece with solid turns by Samantha Artese, as the psychiatrist who seems to find Bill simultaneously both appealing and a mystery, Doug Bollinger as the detective with some secret insights and the rest of the ensemble cast.
The film includes dynamite original music from former Guns n' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and actually casts a darker spell under its new title.
Fans of indie horror will find much to like about The Evangelist, though if we're being completely honest biblical themes in horror films always seem to experience an extra wave of popularity. The Evangelist earns that and you can check it out for yourself on May 9th, 2017.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic