Review – Missionary

Missionary Poster

Missionary PosterA Mormon documentary not your speed?  How about a Mormon thriller?

Elder Kevin Brock (Mitch Ryan) is a young Mormon man fresh on his first mission.  Katherine (Dawn Olivieri) is a single mother struggling to keep up with her growing son Kesley (Connor Christie).  As fate would have it, the two paths cross when Katherine’s home is on Kevin’s door to door list.  When Kevin offers to run a few practice routes with Kesley who has upcoming football tryouts, there’s a connection.

Before long, Kevin becomes a regular – if a bit secretive – part of Katherine’s life.  Despite their age difference, and the fact that he is going against the teachings regulations of the church, the two fall into a physical, romantic relationship.  It couldn’t be more perfect for Kevin who lost his fiance and has no real family to call his own.

When Katherine decides that, for Kesley, it’s worth giving his father (Kip Pardue) another chance, though, things take a disturbing turn.  Convinced that the mother and son are his ordained destiny, Kevin reveals a dark and disturbed side to the family as their lives descend into a spooky Mormon hell dream.

This thriller doesn’t start out as such.  In fact, it goes through two other genres before it settles on that one.  In the beginning, it’s like a slice of life Mormon drama, almost mumblecore as it sets up the characters.  As Kevin and Katherine fall for one another, for a few moments you could convince me that I was watching a weird soft core Mormon parody skin flick.  Instead of the pizza guy, it’s the door to door missionary.  And then things get real disturbing real fast.

“I’m gonna take your family into the waters of baptism and I’m gonna have them sealed to me for all time and eternity.”  Never before have I heard baptism used in such a threatening way.  Of course it’s supposed to illustrate just how perverse and twisted this man truly is, but it mostly just comes off as comical.  Even when heads begin to roll, the whole thing is rather unintentionally campy.

There is a core of an idea here that keeps the film from utterly flopping, built on the idea of how man can twist God’s word and their faith to fit their own interests and justify terrible actions.  There are some interesting themes and moments that pop up once in a while, but mostly the film is just dull without any memorable performances to make up for it.  It’s unique enough that aficionados of the genre might find it worth a scholarly look, but otherwise pass.

Mrs. Hamster did not screen this film

My rating: Two out of five hats

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Trailer:

Missionary knocks on the doors of a limited number of theaters and VOD October 31

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