This horror thriller revolves around three
teenagers whose lives are forever changed when they uncover a deadly
secret and decide to use this to their advantage. With parallels to Wolf
Creek, director John Hewitt truly creates a sleek and professional
Australian film that is not only wonderfully cast but truly captures the
cinematic beauty of the Australia itself in this chilling film.
The story begins with a disheveled young
girl running through a forest, only to be violently hit by a car. This
is where Hewitt carefully sets up the movie, leaving a bread trail of
clues for only the most observant of viewers which the viewer really
needs to pay close attention to.
Acolytes itself is divided into the days of the
week and begins on Monday as a group of teenage school friends, Mark (Seb
Gregory) and his two friends James (Josh Payne) and his girlfriend
Chasely (Hannah Morgan Lawrence) are walking home from school. Mark is
obsessed by James' girlfriend and when they start playing up in front of
him, he storms off into the local forest.
While walking in the forest, Mark stumbles
upon a strange man burying something in the ground as he carefully
watches this man, only to see him flee the scene in a black 4WD with a
butterfly logo on the back. (Another clue by Hewitt) Mark informs his
friends of this strange occurrence and James decides that they should
investigate, believing it to be money buried in the ground.
Unfortunately for the trio, they discover that it is a grave of a female
Canadian back packer.
Through lightning fast flashbacks we learn
that both James and Mark were sexually assaulted as children by Gary
Parker (Michael Dorman) who has just been released from prison and the
boys decide to extract their own vengeance on him by searching for the
forest killer (Joel Edgerton) and blackmailing him in murdering their
perpetrator. Unfortunately things go awry and thus begins a brutal game
of cat and mouse that has a number of strange twists which I was
oblivious too, however it was cleverly done, especially the ending.
With an immersive plot, Acolytes is a truly
on the edge horror thriller that has great acting from all involved,
especially Edgerton who is quite eerie to watch. The young actors who
play their teenage counterparts really get into their role, especially
Hannah Morgan Lawrence who is quite mature and professional for her age.
With good video and audio quality, Acolytes
features some interesting special features, including two great
alternate endings and a variety of interesting tidbits. We could easily recommended Acolytes to all
those who love this genre!
DVD Special Features
Commentary with Director Jon Hewitt and cast members
Interview with director Jon Hewitt and cast members Joel Edgerton,
Michael Dorman. Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Joshua Payne and Sebastian
Diary of a Serial Killer: the making of Acolytes
Alternate Endings 1&2
Soundtrack by David Franzke in 5.1 audio
Jess Simpson's behind-the-scenes mash up video