Missionary Movie Review
Written by Jersey John
Released by Poiley Wood Entertainment
Directed by Anthony DiBlasi
Written by Bruce Wood and Scott Poiley
2013, 90 minutes, Rated R
Released on October 31st, 2014
Dawn Olivieri as Katherine Kingsmen
Mitch Ryab as Kevin Brock
Kip Pardue as Ian Kingsmen
J. LaRose as Sarge Powell
Imagine you're relaxing at home after a long day of work and there is a knock on your door. You open it up to a couple of gentlemen who seem to be salesmen. But instead of selling the latest cleaning supplies or vacuum sealed meat, they're selling religion. Dressed all prim and proper, these complete strangers will explain to you that you need their way of worshiping to be saved. Most of the time they'll move on to one of your unfortunate neighbors after you tell them to piss off. What happens if that's not the case? What happens if you and your family are targets of harassment that borders on stalking? This is part of the premise of Anthony DiBlasi's Missionary.
Katherine is trying to make the best of her living situation after a split up with her husband. Most of her day is spent working. One day she is visited by Elder Brock and his partner who have been canvasing the neighborhood to spread the word of Mormonism door to door. Katherine tries to quickly dismiss them but Brock begins to throw a football for her son and she sees no harm in them spending a few more minutes. After a few more encounters between Brock and Katherine, the two quickly become intimate. This causes a crisis within them. Brock seems to be losing his grasp on his faith as he slowly becomes more infatuated with his feelings while Katherine begins to mend things with her husband. When she tries to let Brock down as easily as possible, some of his dark past comes to light. Katherine will be pushed to the very edge to make her escape, costing her more than she ever thought this would.
As soon as the film starts, there's an immediate uneasiness that Brock, played by Mitch Ryan, does an amazing job delivering to the audience. Casting was done very well and all characters are portrayed as best as they could have been for an independent production. I was pleasantly surprised by the level of enthusiasm that the cast brought to the table, being that most are either up and coming or I've never heard of them. The buildup of Missionary is fantastic and a clear example of how to lead a narrative to its climax. Unfortunately, the climax is where I struggled with the film. Up until the last act, I was captivated and eager to see how sinister things would become. Aside from one shocking moment towards the end, the resolution of Missionary is unsatisfying. With a menacing character such as Brock, the ending does not do him justice.
If you're absolutely horrified of crazy people that happen to believe in religion, Missionary may be just the film for you. As far has door-to-door Mormonism is concerned, I've never been in fear for my life because of someone handing out a pamphlet outlining why I'll be burning in the lake of fire for all of eternity. Unfortunately, the world that we live in happens to churn out some of these over-the-top crazies that makes some of this film believable to an extent. Maybe if Missionary had a more focused plot and some more expendable cast members, the ending may have not suffered the way it did. Take my advice: give Missionary a chance and then pop on Jesus Camp to remind yourself that some of this stuff isn't that far from home after all.