12A – Action/Horror/Sci-Fi – 6th May 2011

The only interesting thing with vampire films these days is trying to work out what kind of vampire your going to get and what rules have been thought up to govern them in the world. The vampires of Priest are actual gruesome monsters with sharp claws and fangs which makes a change from the usual humans with slightly bigger incisors. That being said, they do exist as the human-turned-vampire slaves to their true vampire masters.

Based on Hyung Min-Woo Korean graphic novel, Priest is set in a world where humans and vampires were at war. Realising that they were loosing, the humans invested in training up an elite group of warriors who could combat the vampires and turn the battle in their favour. Interesting really since the original comic did not involve vampires but rather fallen angels and daemons hence why the name of this film doesn’t completely fit the content.

The church decides that after the war is won they no longer need their crack team of assassins and so fearing what they could do, they are disbanded and sent away to live normal lives with the authorities and society shunning them. (I got the impression this was at least in part attempting to parallel modern day war veterans but it was a theme that was only briefly passed over.) When Priest (Paul Bettany) finds out his family have been attacked by vampires and his niece (Lily Collins) taken, he goes against the word of the church and teams up with his nieces boyfriend Hicks (Cam Gigandet), the local sheriff to get her back.

Then follows some fighting, more CGI and special effects (which as a whole are good) and an attempt to fashion a story out of the situation. I just felt that this movie didn’t have much going for it with the acting rather disappointing, the ‘scary’ parts failing to let my heart racing let alone make me jump from my seat and I began to lose interest half way through- never a good sign. Watch the trailer and save yourself a trip to the cinema and a few quid.

The film also didn’t know what direction it was heading in. By this I mean that it amalgamated a western theme with horror and action and a slight attempt at romance and threw it into a Mad Max post-apocalyptic type world. Maybe this might have worked in the graphic novel where you can imagine a cowboy western world to be more god fearing but it just didn’t adapt to the big screen.

Although a didn’t see the 3D version the general consensus is that I made the correct choice in opting for the 2D. This is probably down to the fact it was post-converted into 3D rather than shot in 3D and with large parts of the film set in the dark (one guess why), the addition of 3D glasses isn’t going to help your viewing experience.

Finally, you like me may be surprised to find that it’s only a 12A rating. If I ever saw some of the stuff in this film when I was younger than 12 I wouldn’t have slept for weeks but then maybe the kids today are made of harder stuff!

So I was not the biggest fan of this movie and I have a feeling that I will not be the only one. If it wasn’t for the cross shaped tattoo across his forehead, I would have had trouble distinguishing Bettany from his role in this and the equally disappointing Legion. One word sums this up and that word is rubbish.

Rating: 3.9/10

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