Believers (DVD)

Believers DVD (click for larger image)Starring Daniel Benzali, Deanna Russo, Johnny Messner, Jeri Lynn Ryan, Jon Huertas

Directed by Daniel Myrick

Distributed by Warner Home Video

And then I saw her face! Now I’m a believer! I’m in lo… Oh, um, sorry. Just saw Across the Universe. Anyway, the subject of the day here is Warner Home Video’s release of Daniel (The Blair Witch Project) Myrick’s Believers (not to be confused with the sleepy Martin Sheen vehicle of just about the same name from twenty years ago). Ever since Blair Witch I’ve been eager to see what else Myrick could cook up (his directing partner of that feature, Eduardo Sanchez, has since released his own film, the way under-rated Altered –review here–), and let me tell you, with Believers he totally delivers!

When rescue workers Vic and David (Huertas and Messner) are called to a remote gas station to tend to a woman who isn’t breathing, they get a whole lot more than they bargained for. While trying to revive their subject, they are stopped by a truck full of men armed with guns. Even worse, these firearm-wielding loonies aren’t content with just grabbing the unconscious girl and leaving. They want Vic and David to come along with them too. Why? Because they now know of their existence. Yep, there’s no doubt … these people are bat-shit nuts. Or are they?

Believers DVD (click for larger image)After being kidnapped, our two heroes are faced with a decision — be killed or become a member of The Quanta Group, an organization of people who believe the world is about to end. Membership in this psycho-club has its privileges, the main of which is that by dawn you’ll be able to sit in a dark room with your new captors and inhale poisonous gas until you’re ready for the old dirt nap. Why? Because these guys are under the impression that once they shed their mortal skin, they will be able to move on to be with God in some new portion of his multi-verse. As you can imagine, this doesn’t sit well with Vic or Dave. Can they escape? Better yet, should they? Is the leader of this group known only as The Teacher (Benzali) actually on to something?

Believers works because it echoes reality. Suicide cults, especially the recent Heaven’s Gate (Wikipedia entry here) nuts, have been around forever just waiting for weak minded individuals to come on in and drink their Kool-Aid. The scariest parts of Believers comes from the familiarity of the situation. This could have easily turned out to be a very heavy-handed film, but Myrick handles this subject with a deft hand. He piles the tension on thick while giving us just enough breathing room to become completely engrossed.

Believers DVD (click for larger image)On the supplemental side of the compound, we have an interesting set of extras. You’re not going to find the as-per-usual interviews with the cast and crew here. In fact, the only real background you’ll get comes from the commentary with Myrick and co-writer Julia Fair. The rest is comprised mostly of footage from the Quanta Group Facility. These five segments clock in at around nineteen minutes combined and serve to enhance the viewing experience tenfold. Included are an extended interview with IO, who was one of the group’s main activists, the Quanta Group introduction video, some truly chilling aftermath forensic video, and much more.

I was just about to write off 2007 as one of the genre’s worst years ever. After being subjected to the usual cookie-cutter horror Hollywood has thrown at us this year, it’s great to see 2007 end on a high note. Believers will leave you thinking. It’s the kind of movie that stays with you long after the credits have rolled. Bravo.

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with writer/director Daniel Myrick and co-writer Julia Fair
  • Extended Vance television interview
  • Introduction to the facility video
  • The Teacher (hidden camera video)
  • IO explains the formula (hidden camera video)
  • The Aftermath (forensic video)
  • Trailer
  • Film:

    4 out of 5

    Special Features:

    4 out of 5

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