Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Be Wary the Peace Loving Nevada Cults
Score 6/10 - Standard Faire
Posted by Samuel Glass | May 2nd, 2022
Written, directed and edited by Dillon Brown, The Flock is a found-footage demonic horror thriller shot throughout various locations in Nevada. It has the heart and the intent, but unfortunately it doesn’t have the budget or resources needed to tackle storytelling that gets this ambitious. But it didn’t keep Brown and his cast and crew from reaching for their goals anyway, and my score reflects the kudos I give them for that.
The story is told like chapters unfolding in a novel, though the pages are all video clips instead. As described in the prologue of various clips, “The Flock” is a Nevada-based cult who seem all “peace and love” on the outside, but in the background, a nefarious agenda is being expedited. Children are disappearing in the attempt to raise the demon Moloch, who can only be summoned by child sacrifices. In the first part, the lone survivor of a massacre involving his group of friends is kidnapped by two Satanists. Rather than join The Flock, they intend to find the cult’s leader, Crow, and have him intervene with the demon to spare them, once the apocalypse begins as prophesized with his arrival on Earth.
The second part is about a paramilitary squad of literal “soldiers of Christ”, armed with “holy” armaments, (sorry, no Grenades of Antioch here, though). Their main objective is to save the kids and wipe out the cult. One soldier in particular has a personal axe to grind, since his son was one of the youngsters taken. The third and fourth parts document what happens when the Satanists and their captive, Crow and The Flock and the militia group all finally intersect, unleashing Hell in every sense of the word. All found-footage films, good, bad or somewhere in between, take their cues from the movie considered to be the ”granddaddy” of the genre, The Blair Witch Project, and The Flock is certainly no exception.
From the performances of the actors that range from good to “silence-is-golden”-worthy, to the utilization of some really great locations that provide an unsettling level of authenticity, Brown and company nailed the similarities in that sense. The main place where the movie suffers is in the visual effects and practical makeup department. The Moloch mask and getup is really impressive, but the climax includes one of the most “bloodless” bloodbaths I’ve ever seen. The CG bullet flares and tracers can be forgiven – it’s a cost-friendly resource that every film is using now. But gorehounds looking for “carnage candy” are bound to be disappointed at the marked lack of the red stuff, which should have been dripping from the walls of The Flock’s sanctuary, considering the mayhem that commences.
The main place where the movie suffers is in the visual effects and practical makeup department.
Cinematography is spot-on for the genre as well, though there may have been one or two too many “video glitches” added along the way, to try to impart more of that “you-are-there” feel. The twist at the end (wait for it!) involving Crow was clever, as what it has to say about “true believers” vs. posers, and how social media hides or reveals either. But it's not enough to make the aforementioned problems forgettable.
There’s a lot here that echoes the plot of Neill Blomkamp’s Demonic, but sans the VR aspect of that story. This movie is a strong indicator that Brown knows what he’s doing, and I most definitely look forward to seeing what he’s capable of with a more ample budget and a seasoned cast.