(directors: Lee Roy Kunz, Cru Ennis; screenwriter: Kane Kunz, Lee Roy Kunz; cinematographer: Isaac Bauman; editor: David Walsh Heinz; music: Toti Guoason; cast: Lee Roy Kunz (Father Fox), Maria Vera Ratti (Sister Yulia), Alexander Siddig (Cardinal Russo), Jaune Kimmel (Laura), Thomas Kretschman (Father Saul), Lana Barbara Luhse (Sister Sniger); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Cru Ennis, Lee Roy Kunz, Isaac Bauman, Elina Litvinova; Magnet Releasing; 2023-USA/Estonia-in English)
“Filled with religious intrigue.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The co-directors of this paranoiac religious/horror pic are Lee Roy Kunz (“A Beer Tale”) and Cru Ennis, as the latter makes his feature film directing debut. This is an ambitious Antichrist supernatural horror-thriller, that’s filled with religious intrigue, a spooky atmosphere, lapses of logic and a pulpy story that bleakly gives the viewer a sense of unease and dread. It’s co-written by Lee Roy Kunz and his brother Kane Kunz, who use their modest budget to make it stylish and tawdry.
In its own peculiar way it offers an invigorating investigation of faith, prophesy, the nature of miracles, as well as raising questions about good and evil.
In the opening scene an ancient prophecy is written on tattoos on the backs of Zorastrians lined-up to be ritualistically beheaded and skinned, as a means of making sure the Antichrist will be slain.
In modern times, the Russian nun, Sister Yulia (Maria Vera Ratti), is staying at a remote convent in Russia. She states she’s having an immaculate conception. The nun relates it to an old prophesy about the birth of twin boys, one who will be the Messiah and the other the Antichrist, as mysteriously the virgin nun gives birth to twins after influenced by wind noises and flickering lights. Thereby the Vatican sends a team of priests to verify her claims, with the skeptical handsome young American, Father Fox (Lee Roy Kunz, the co-director), being in charge of the inquiry.
Accompanying Father Fox to the Catholic convent is Cardinal Russo (Alexander Siddig), the head of the diocese. We also learn that the troubled Father Fox is thinking he might leave the priesthood after knocking up his wealthy Estonian businesswoman lover, Laura (Jaune Kimmel).
Also in on the inquiry is Father Saul (Thomas Kretschman), a one-eyed German priest, without a moral compass, who belongs to a secret society, Vox Dei, that schemes to kill the nun and her twins. Their reason is that they don’t want to take a chance in killing the Messiah and having the Antichrist live.
Deliver Us is not a picture for those unwilling to be delivered from their blind faith, or for those who are confounded by the film’s violence, nudity and sexuality, or for those who are too squeamish. For those who can get past its many faults (a questionable execution of its plot, a gloomy atmosphere and an unpleasing slow pace) will find much about it that might be muddled but is also deliciously zany.
It leaves us with the provocative question, if we can choose good over evil in a world that offers both choices.
REVIEWED ON 10/20/2023 GRADE: B