Apostle is the latest film helmed by writer/director Gareth Evans, and the period horror piece is quite a departure from the auteur’s past works (The Raid, The Raid 2, and the “Safe Haven” segment of V/H/S/2). One of the most impactful scenes involves a torture device used for trepanation; though the practice of boring holes into a person’s skull was a primitive method for releasing pressure on the brain, in Apostle, it’s done to achieve “purification”.
Evans recently spoke to the folks at CinemaBlend about how he knows when he’s gone too far, in terms of on-screen gore and violence; it all goes back to some advice he got from his father:
“I’ve always had a thing like I can only rely on my own internal barometer for what’s okay and what’s not okay, and I can’t really be too concerned about what other people have as their own personal barometers. I know my mother’s barometer is very, very different than mine. My father’s barometer kind of lines up a little more closely to my own. And my dad has always kind of said, ‘Look, as long as it’s not gratuitous, and it’s not exploitative then it’s all right.’ You just kind of get behind it. So I always try to kind of think like, ‘Well, what would be the thing that would cross the line with him?’ And then pull it back from there.”
Evans further explains how a less-is-more approach to the torture scene actually added to the overall tension and terror of the moment. Check out the interview in its entirety HERE and check out the synopsis and trailer for Apostle (now streaming on Netflix) below.
London, 1905. Prodigal son Thomas Richardson has returned home, only to learn that his sister is being held for ransom by a religious cult. Determined to get her back at any cost, Thomas travels to the idyllic island where the cult lives. As Thomas infiltrates the island’s community, he learns that the corruption of mainland society that they claim to reject has infested the cult’s ranks nonetheless – and uncovers a secret more evil than he could have imagined.
Apostle stars Dan Stevens, Richard Elfyn, and Paul Higgins.