Directed by Adam Ahlbrandt
Distributed by Illusions Unlimited Films
In my honest (and impressively shallow) opinion, I cannot remember the last time I’d seen such a tremendous buzz surrounding an underground release, and the after-effects of said release, so you could imagine my speculation when I’d heard (for weeks on end) about director Adam Ahlbrandt’s gore-crammed Cross Bearer
Aptly subtitled: The Hammer of God, while just a little over 70 minutes, the film packs enough viscera to stuff a brewery vat, and according to Ahlbrandt “isn’t even as gory as one of his other films,” The Cemetery (which is coming soon) – excuse me ?? The reality here is that even the most fastidious horror aficionados will crank their necks to get a better peek at this carnage-filled jewel and pump their fists as soon as the first clout of the hammer is leveled. Ahlbrandt delivers on all fronts when it comes to not only delivering a storyline that hooks the audience, but providing a varied assortment of characters that we cannot wait to watch act out their most destructive vices.
The movie has a main focal point in Heather (played by Natalie Jean) – she is thrust into an unfortunate position: she’s living hand to mouth via the strippers’ pole, in a life complicated by not only a tyrannical boss (J.D. Brown), but a live-in girlfriend (Victoria DePaul) with a child and a raging cocaine addiction. She dreams of the day when she and her girlfriend-on-the-side, Bunny (Kacie Marie) can scrape up enough dough to flee their unsubstantial surroundings and head to Greece. Their plan includes aiding Victoria in a cocaine deal set up by her boss, ripping them BOTH off, and hitting the high road with Bunny for a sunnier future. The only problem is that HE is lying in wait: he is the Cross Bearer (Isaac Williams), a psychotic bible-passage spouting lunatic that uses a carpenter’s hammer to dispatch all who fall victim to sin. He acts as judge, jury and executioner to everyone who takes the Lord’s word in vain.
With his head wrapped in a dirty cloth hood, the Cross Bearer hunts down one of Harry’s associates and two..let’s just call them “friends” while having a drug-riddled get-together as they wait for Victoria to deliver a load of the snowy stuff. Blood is spilled in staggering fashion as both the head and the claw are used to bash, split, whack and pummel skulls with blunt force paragon. Upon entering the dilapidated warehouse for the deal, Heather and her group are now the principal sacrifices for the bludgeoning ecclesiastical fanatic. The race to survive is on as the remainder of the movie is a tense cat and mouse game to see who (if anyone) can make it out alive and wash themselves free of sin before the hammer of God reigns down upon them.
Ahlbrandt, who obviously has a vision that is rapidly making a mark on the indie-horizon, sets all the pieces in place and constructs a psychotic anti-hero type, that when used in the perfect circumstance, stands up as the lunatic who merely wants the world to follow under God’s law, and when that law is run afoul of, certain repercussions are to follow…and it ain’t got the same lovin’ feeling like a nun rapping your knuckles with a ruler, that’s for sure!
Performances are standard filth (that’s a good thing!) with Jean providing the “scream queen” performance we’ve been waiting a while for – she simply doesn’t back into a corner and cower, but instead puts up a fight that would make any empowered female proud to call this chick an ass-kicker.
In closing, I cannot recommend this film enough for the fans of the putrid, and the infatuates of impurity, for there is a new heavyweight on the block, and he’s ready to put the hammer DOWN. – Highly endorsed.
4 out of 5