A vampire flick with a difference, The Reverend is one of those films that reaches very high, only to stumble and fall.

Supposedly based on a graphic novel, this low-budget British effort revolving around the activities of the titular character has plenty going for it, but ultimately is likely to frustrate as much as it entertains.

Things kick off interestingly enough, with a scene involving genre favourites Rutger Hauer and Giovanni Lombardo Radice (or John Morghen as he was named in some of the early 80s splatter classics).

Hauer appears to be playing the Devil while Radice is God, haggling over the soul of a character.

Turns out they are talking about a Reverend, and they come to the compromise that they will test him to see what he can endure.

Things then switch to a sleepy Welsh village, with the Reverend (Stuart Brennan), arriving to take the reins at the local church.

Shortly afterwards though, the Rev is visited by one of Hauer’s companions (who turns out to be a vampire) and, one nasty neck bite later, our hero has a thirst for blood himself.

The priest then has to face his own series of personal demons as he attempts to both clean up the church and the village, taking a few bites along the way.

As I stated in the opening par, this is a vampire film but only really in that it is a film featuring a vampire, rather than a traditional Dracula-esque flick.

Some of the classic vampire traditions are ditched – the Reverend can go out in sunlight for example, and his victims explode into flames after being bitten (a cool effect by the way).

There is no doubting the story is an interesting one, and Brennan does a good job of portraying the angst of his character as he comes to grips with what has happened to him.

The rest of the cast is a very mixed bag though – with director Neil Jones throwing a host of horror faces at the screen in the hope that they stick.

Some do – Doug Bradley (Pinhead) turns up as another priest for example, but the Horror Channel’s Emily Booth’s performance as a hooker trying to turn her life around shows she should stick to fronting the channel and looking hot – both of which she is eminently qualified for.

And don’t even get me started over the mystifying decision to cast former boxer Richie Woodall as the local police chief.

Bizarrely, the most memorable performance probably comes from Eastenders star Shane Richie, who pops up as a foul-mouthed, low-life pimp for a brief period before meeting his demise.

The film has a brisk running time so does not outstay its welcome, and there are a few bloody sequences here and there to pep up what is a pretty talky script.

That is by no means a bad thing, but the ideas and thought that has gone into this concept simply cannot be borne out by the money the makers had to play with.

I don’t think anyone will be bored by The Reverend, it’s just that you will emerge from watching it thinking it could have been better.

About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle