With the amount of original content featuring big-name actors and directors that Netflix releases every month, you probably wouldn’t need to play Netflix Ad Libs too long before you made up a project that is actually already happening. Still, no amount of ad-libbing would’ve prepared anyone for this: In October, Netflix will release a religious-cult-themed horror film from The Raid writer-director Gareth Evans called Apostle, starring Dan Stevens and Michael Sheen.
Apostle is ostensibly about Stevens’s character traveling to an island inhabited by a cult (whose leader is Sheen) to rescue his sister, but based on the trailer released Monday, the plot really just seems like a great excuse for Evans to mess around with creepy, late-19th-century torture devices. Yes, that means someone is gonna get their head drilled open, someone else is going to get hanged alive in a burlap sack, and that lots of cult followers are going to wear freaky masks. The tagline for this movie is “Your God can’t help you,” for Christ’s sake.
The trailer for Apostle is extremely effective, by which I mean I’ve been having waking nightmares ever since I first watched it. But I have to face my fears if I ever want to sleep again, so here’s a power ranking of Apostle’s most upsetting moments.
7. This Cult’s Affinity for Masks
Suggestion: If you ever turn a corner and see this kid standing in the hallway, run.
This aesthetic cross between Halloween and the annual Purge movies is hard to shake, and this kid’s look does appear to be tied to some kind of celebration on the island. “Celebration” is a generous word, however.
6. The Obligatory, Ominous “Corpses Hanging on Trees” Warning
In a work like Apostle, a creepy jaunt into the woods isn’t complete without human bodies hanging from trees. In a delightfully perverse twist, these bodies don’t appear to be hanging by nooses — they’re suspended in the air because they’ve been stabbed through branches. How great! Last I checked, only the Predator in The Predator is capable of such strength.
Dan Stevens should probably leave this island, unless he plans on transforming into the actual Beast sans bodysuit.
5. Terrible Branding
Unfortunately, Stevens isn’t making it off the island — if he is at all — without a very painful remembrance on his back.
This poor guy should be nominated for Sibling of the Year in London. I hope his sister is grateful for his efforts!
4. An Alien … Cave Painting?
Yeah, I’m at a bit of a loss here — is this cult worshiping an alien god?! — but the trailer cuts from Stevens discovering an alien-like painting on a wall to Michael Sheen greeting something that’s somehow both human and inhuman.
I mean, cool, why not? There was already an overwhelming amount of religious horror in this movie — why not bring aliens into it too?
3. Drilling a Dude’s Head? Drilling a Dude’s Head.
This punishment is, to quote the executioner, a way for the victim to be “cleansed according to the edict of this land.” Whenever inhumane torture is referred as a “cleansing,” it is infinitely more creepy; that’s a rule.
The trailer cuts away before the drilling itself commences, but considering how violent the Raid movies are, Apostle is probably going there. Take this information and make of that what you will. (If you’re squeamish, I warned you!)
2. What Did Dan Stevens Do to Deserve This?
It’s as if the actor read about Leonardo DiCaprio’s agony on the set of The Revenant and was like, “You think raw bison meat is bad? Hold my beer … I’m going to lose my fingers for content.”
I don’t want to encourage you think about how this works, but I’m going to anyway: I believe the purpose of this device is to slowly grind someone from their fingers down to their torso until they’re more reminiscent of minced pork. That is MESSED UP.
1. This Bloodied Man Haunting the Recesses of My Mind
Apostle’s trailer keeps coming back to this bloodied man who appears to be terrorizing the island. Not sure what his motives are, or if he’s even fully human, but he gives off the same creepy, religiously tinged vibes as Silas in The Da Vinci Code — a.k.a. the albino, self-whipping Paul Bettany. His back is an equally scarred mess. His hobbies include carrying large brown sacks with human beings inside them.
I wouldn’t say Apostle looks like a pleasant watch come October, but I’m so indebted to Evans for making the Raid franchise that I’ll allow him to give me never-ending nightmares about cults. Valak and I welcome the horror.