By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

From writer/directors Britt Poulson and Dan Madison Savage comes this unnerving and frightening portrait of insanely fanatical Christians who test their faith in God by handling poisonous snakes. Kaitlin Dever stars as Dilly, a sweet and intelligent teen whose father Lemuel (Walton Goggins serves as pastor of a poor, but faithful church in the Appalachian woods. As Kaitlin has matured, she begins to truly see the insanity of her church’s practices and realizes the harm it is causing the members. When Kaitlin must face a controversial personal problem of her own, the members of the congregation eventually learn the truth and attempt to apply their beliefs to help resolve the matter. When these rituals and dogma begin to hit too close to home, Lemuel must decide if he is doing the right thing for his daughter.

I watched this powerful and intense thriller early during the festival, and must say that I was utterly captivated and disturbed. Directors Poulson and Savage do a tremendous job developing tgeir story and characters and present it all nearly flawlessly. The movie also features fantastic performances by the cast. In addition to the superb work by Dever and Goggins, the movie can also boast excellent turns by Olivia Colman, Jim Gaffigan, Alice Englert, Thomas Mann, and Lewis Pullman. The film is due for a release in August, 2019.

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