Director(s) – Britt Poulton (Lizard King) and Dan Madison Savage (Lizard King)
Starring – Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell), Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, House of 1000 Corpses), and Thomas Mann (Hansel and Gretal: Witch Hunters, Kong: Skull Island)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 3.5/5
Tagline – “We all have our sins”
I sometimes reference the area I’m from in some of my reviews but a lot of the stuff from my upbringing is left out because it doesn’t fit the film I’m reviewing. I always try to connect with a film in one way or another so a lot of my reviews feel like blog entries in one way or another. When I was growing up in McDowell county, West Virginia I was just a small distance away from a snake handling church. I knew it was different when compared to other churches but I never realized just how strange it really was until I was an adult and no longer living there.
I’ve pretty much been an atheist my entire life so all religions are strange to me but I now find snake handling to be fascinating. Sometime back I recieved a press release for the dramatic thriller Them That Follow which is centered around a small snake handling church. I was very curious about this film and requested a review copy which they were kind enough to send over.
**Spoiler Alert**he film follows a young woman named Mara (Englert) who is in love with Augie (Mann). Mara’s father Lemuel (Goggins) is a preacher of a small church that practices snake handling and refuse modern medicine. Augie is not as devoute as his girlfriend and mother but Mara is dedicated to her faith. This causes friction between the two and eventually the love birds are pulled apart when Mara is promised to another man in the church. What no one knows is that Mara is secretly pregnent with Augie’s child and this child out of wedlock will bring tensions to a boil within the church when their ways are questioned in regards to loved ones. **Spoiler Alert**
I grew up in an odd area. People did not expect to work or have a steady source of income. They abuse the system and their only real vice outside of drugs and alcohol is their faith. Church is a big deal to them and many live their lives around impressing their congregation. When I tossed in Them That Follow I didn’t know what to expect but what I found was a very authentic look at growing up in a small Appalachian community overturned by poverty and seclusion.
The acting in this one is fucking fantastic. Walter Goggins is fucking phenomenal in the film. His portrayal of a royal preacher is fucking spot on. When I was younger I lived directly beside a church, four doors down from a church, and across the creek from me was a trailer that a family had converted into a church before they moved. Just in my hollow alone I can count a dozen churches in a 4 mile span. I knew a lot of southern preachers and he fucking pulled of a spot on performance. There was times during the film where his character and acting gave me fucking chills. He has given us so many memorable roles over the years but this one is my favorite. Hands down. I also enjoyed Alice Englert’s performance as well. She was a strong lead and her character draws in a lot of emotion from the viewer but she is a little underwhelming in a few of the scenes.
The story for this one really pulled me in which is weird considering what it’s about. I couldn’t tell you how many people I went through school with who had family deep in church who turned around and had a child out of wedlock. Almost all of these pregnancies caused trouble in the families. This movie is very down to Earth and real which makes me think that whoever wrote this one lived the life. It pulls you in and you don’t want to leave. When the movie ends you find yourself wanting more.
Finally, this one is not a body count flick that most of you are begging for. We do get some practical effects and a little blood but no on screen deaths that most of you want. Overall, Them That Follow is not a horror film but, as far as religious thrillers go, packs one hell of a punch. The film may seem a little out there to some but as someone that has lived in a community similar to this one I can say that it portrays the people of the region perfectly. Check this one out now!