"Blamed for the death of his celebrated older brother, young Kyle Cole is tormented by members of the community, to the point of no return. A secret meeting at the compound of a mysterious and dangerous man named Jordan sets the fate of the town…only to be put on hold as Kyle’s parents, succumbing to their grief, abruptly send Kyle away to be raised by distant relatives.
Now, years later, Kyle is a young man on the verge of graduating from college. He is joined by his girlfriend Mandy and Tanner, a young documentary filmmaker, as he travels back to Kaler Mills. He hopes to find peace with his mother and father and to finally deal with the events that caused him so much sadness and anger as a boy. But, his parents are not the only ones waiting for Kyle’s return. The table is still set and Jordan, his adopted son Samuel and the dark, ancient creation of Kyle’s vengeance have been waiting…and they are hungry!"
About two thirds of the way through 'The Dooms Chapel Horror' I knew that I was watching something special. Every sweep of the camera, every drop of blood, every quotable little tidbit of dialogue pulled me closer to the screen, closer to the faces that inhabited it.
Faces. Some faces stay imprinted behind my closed eyelids like brands. Bill Oberst Jr's is still there, snarling at me; every last maniacal grimace begging me to follow him, sit with him, break bread with him. Break bones with him.
The film portrays the Cult Leader as something of a self-proclaimed messiah. This man is god of his domain and god to the people that blindly follow him. So often we sit and lament the stupidity of the characters on the screen; "Don't listen to him", "Don't go that way", "What the Hell were you thinking?" I listened to him, I followed him, I stood behind him.
This is mainly due to stellar acting. Austin Madding is wonderful as Kyle Cole; conflicted, hurt, bitter. It is possible to see this man's pain, see how his past is literally tearing apart the small town from which he left. There must also be room to mention Joshua Mark Robinson who very nearly stole the show from the Mr Oberst Jr. He is menacing as Samuel, stealing every scene that he appears in and dragging it deep into the fires of Hell.
As I briefly mentioned in my synopsis, the film is put together as a kind of faux documentary. Unlike my bearded Die On Set A husband I am not immediately turned off by the words "found" and "footage", I just feel that over-saturation of the genre has led to way too many rotten apples on a tree that early on looked so green and healthy. I have no issues with it in this film either - the closeness that is generated when you film in that way only serves to accentuate some of this film's most endearing characteristics.
One of my main worries about this film was that it would become too crowded. An evil cult and a bloodthirsty monster? Surely this is too much for one film? I am glad to say that I was mistaken. The monster only really rears its ugly head at the film's climax, spending the rest of the film sitting cosy within the safety of a well worn revenge metaphor. Revenge is sweet? Not in this film.
I realise that I may have spent the first part of this review gushing about the film, so I'll take a step back and discuss its few flaws. I was absolutely in love with the way that the main characters were acted, however I couldn't say this about some of the minor ones. This is most evident early on, when the film shows interviews with some of Kyle's old friends and acquaintances. It wasn't like the acting was terrible, I just had trouble believing that the characters were who they were meant to be.
Also, the film sometimes appears to be lazily written. For the most part the plot is near-perfect and the dialogue is instantly quotable, but some of the decisions that the characters make are almost laughable "Sheriff lets two potential murder suspects sully a crime scene and join the search for a dead body/Huge hunting party covered in glow sticks go through the motions of keeping quiet).
Finally, I also had some issues with Kyle's girlfriend, Mandy, and how she was written. A) It seems to me that her main contribution to the plot involved a short scene in some underwear B) Most of her dialogue is uninspired and annoying and C) There are some early hints of character development, but this appeared to be abandoned in favour of crying and screaming.
Apart from a few minor gripes I think I may have fallen in love with 'The Dooms Chapel Horror'. It was well filmed, has line after line of quotable dialogue and has some of the best antagonists that I have seen of late. Watch this film and you will see why it is possibly the best found footage movie since 'The Blair Witch Project'.