Purgatory Road (2017) Movie Review
Written By: FR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Mark Savage
Writers: Tom Parnell, Mark Savage
Producers: Tom Parnell, John Read, Mark Savage, et. al.
Date Released: October 27, 2017
Gary Cairns as Father Vincent
Luke Albright as Michael
Trista Robinson as Mary Francis
Sylvia Grace Crim as Ruby
Manon Pages as Dominique
Geoff Falk as Father Joe Taylor
Douglas Cunningham as Sam Oldfield
Chace Beck as Alvin Kirby
Tom Parnell as Sheriff Mac
Rating = 3.5 /5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Purgatory Road is a story of two brothers who were a product of a traumatic childhood. The younger brother, Vincent (Gary Cairns) witnessed a robbery in their house where the thief stole most of the family’s savings while doing nothing during the commission. Because of this the father killed himself and his wife leaving the guilt with Vincent. Years later, Vincent became a priest and his brother Michael (Luke Albright) went along for the ride. The two brothers embarked on a journey around the South with their mobile confessional. His form of healing is death. By killing the sinners, they are forgiven their sins and given passage to heaven. While at the same time, he was saving money that he collected from his followers to repay his father’s lost money. During their journey, they met up with Mary Francis (Trista Robinson) to add more depth to the relationship between brothers. She blinded them along the way with her true intentions.
The confessional box is actually the killing pen, sort of. Vincent offers anything but spiritual relief to those poor parishioners who confess sins of stealing – they get a knife to the guts for their trouble. For Vincent has become a serial killing priest. Back home Vincent and his brother – whose job is to drive the van and do a lot of looking the other way – chop up their victims and dump the entrails into the basement, where their supposedly father waits for feeding time.
The Grave Review
Purgatory Road (2017) is a moodily shot, impressively acted slice of southern gothic that for the most part presents itself as a live action horror comic. It’s only towards the end that its plot strands start to unravel a bit, but it’s a sick, often funny ride, with lots of local color and some impressive gore effects.
Purgatory Road has some provocative ideas, but it tips over into near camp on several occasions, probably most notably with regard to Mary Francis, and especially with some later plot developments that push the film into more traditional monster (as in disfigured beast, not sociopath) territory.
The movie is brutal and is really a great story about a traumatized family and how they dealt with it. The violence and gore added to the story of the torment Vincent has suffered all his life. The guilt Vincent has inside just consumed him and he finds splice in trying to find salvation for his unknowing flock of disciples. They are so taken by his charm and so vulnerable that they never realized that death is the forgiveness and not five Hail Mary’s!
In spite of a low budget film, it has technically been well crafted and well written. The acting, direction and cinematography is equally commendable. The story while a religious themed is not preachy or offensive but more empathy towards the brothers. The performances from the three leads (Vincent, Michael and Mary Francis) are diabolical and in the same way engaging. The way they feed of each other makes classic cinema and is a delight to see a well-constructed and scripted horror movie. Lighting in the confessional scenes just adds to the madness unfolding.
The film’s dialogue and intermittent sound effects are rendered clearly as well, and there are occasional bursts of low end which can provide startle responses. Detail levels are very good to excellent throughout, and some of the practical effects dealing with corpses and the like are very well done.
Because of the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Purgatory Road (2017) three and half graves out of five graves.
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