Based upon a Korean graphic novel of the same name created by Hyung Min-woo, Screen Gems’s ‘Priest’ takes place in a time and place that has been ravaged by a war between humans and vampires, where The Church has trained priests to fight and kill the vampires and protect humanity. Following the seeming defeat of the vampire race, a lone priest (Paul Bettany) discovers that the vampires may still be alive and have kidnapped the niece of a small town’s sheriff (Lily Collins). Going against the orders of The Church and its leader (Christopher Plummer), Priest journeys out of The Church’s safe haven to seek out the vampires and save the town and the hostages…before it’s too late.
Interesting concept…too bad the delivery was so damn typical. The story was unimpressive, unoriginal, and unimaginative. It was another cookie cutter story pulled from the horror/fantasy bin, a story that has been recycled hundreds of time. True, the visuals of the movie were pretty impressive (the fight scenes in particular stood out, being fun to watch). However, the impressive use of CGI was merely a mask to hide the fact that the story was mediocre, at best. The story, like the graphic novel, aimed to combine elements of horror and western together, hoping to create a unique kind of story. It almost worked. The effort was there…it just didn’t go well with the overall writing.
The performances by the actors didn’t help either. True, this was an action/horror movie but still…is it too much to ask for some form of commitment from the performing cast? It felt too “acted”, as if the actors themselves didn’t believe that they were the characters they were portraying. Even Paul Bettany, who played Priest, seemed out of his element. While usually one of the best things in a movie, his performance in this piece felt forced, unnatural, as if he was trying too hard.
The verdict? Overall, while Priest is visually entertaining, it offers nothing new or substantial. It is just another typical action movie masquerading behind CGI and glorified fight scenes. This is hardly worth the price of a movie ticket.