Review: Is Priest Just Another Predictable Vampire Movie, Or Does It Completely Reinvent The Genre?

Guest post by Stephen. If you want to guest post too, see the requirements here. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw this movie. I’ve never read the graphic novel, the movie was based off of, but I typically like a good vampire movie - as long as they don’t sparkle. The movie is about the dynamic of priests and vampires. The priests are essentially people who are blessed by God with the strength to fight against the vampires, but these vampires were different than any I'm used to.

The vampires have no eyes, ears, or hair. They are slimy looking and excrete a type of residue that helps them create their hives where they have a queen that births them. They seem to be more like rabid dog-insects than vampires.
The movie starts with a well done animation depicting the first wars of humans vs. vampires. It showed the ferocity of the vampires and how easily they could rip a normal human in half. The priests were founded in order to stop these vampires and kill them. As the movie progresses, we find out that the vampires have been placed in reservations and are heavily guarded from escaping, until a champion among them hatches a plot to overtake the human population.

What I liked about the movie was the mix of genres. The typical vampire movie is (now-a-days) a modern era film or old world. This movie was more of a western, gun slinging, type of film, which is rare for a horror movie. In the beginning, looking at the arid landscape and the beating sun, it made me glad an air conditioning was invented and that I could enjoy it in the theater. It was also reminiscent of the reformation era, with the split of Lutheranism and the Catholic Church.

That was another reason I enjoyed it. I like to see historical references in films. It gives a light to the writer’s original intent on the film and lets you view their mindscape. The themes of the film were reminiscent of the split; the main character could be equated to Martin Luther and his agonizing over the Catholic Church’s ideals and eventually the creation of his own.

Lastly, I loved the vampire design. It was original and made them more like animals than humans, which is (as you know) the more popular visage of the mythical race. What was also nice about this was that the vampire created a hybrid between priest and vampire which looked like your standard humanoid vampire. Which made for a better villain than a beast (for a comic book movie at least).

What I hated about the film were the unanswered questions that surfaced. If these vampires were so dangerous, why not kill them completely off instead of place them in reservation camps? I don’t believe the film actually answered this question. It made for a good plot, but it seemed a bit sloppy to not mention it. Other writing problems were the underdeveloped story. It seemed like there could have been much more character development in the story; there was a lot of dead space where there was talking and development but it seemed forced.

Acting was sub-par. I think the best actor was the young lady, Lily Collins, who didn’t have very many lines. That might have been a grace, but Paul Bettany seemed like he was trying to be Batman from Batman Begins. He didn’t seem authentic to me at all as a character. He was aloof, but not enough to be believable.

I wouldn’t suggest paying full retail when this movie comes out. If you are indeed curious, use red box or netflix. It wasn’t a bad watch, really, but it wasn’t anything spectacular. If I was to give it a rating on a scale of 5, I would give it a 3.

I give Priest 3 out of 5 stars:

Here is the Priest trailer:

What did you think of Priest?