Them That Follow. Film4. Written and directed by Britt Poulton and Dan Madison

Olivia Coleman is in this film. She doesn’t usually make duff movies. So I decided to watch the start and see if I liked it. I thought it would be a naff horror about some kind of poltergeist. A curse of some kind. In a way it was. Set in rural Appalachia on ‘the mountain,’ the curse was religion. The kind of Pentecostal Christianity that gives even Wacos a bad name. Follower of Trump. In other words, it was realistic.  

The Bible says that the chosen should be able to drive out demons, cure those in distress and handle snakes without coming to any harm.

Lemuel Childs (Walton Googins) takes biblical text literally, of course he does. God will protect them from the viper’s bite. To prove his point, every service has the chosen handling poisonous snakes, rattlers gathered from the hill.

The anointed will come to no harm. Mara (Alice Englert), Lemeul’s daughter, is the bad seed. We see her stealing out of the store run by Hope Slaughter (Olivia Coleman). Hope confides in Mara that she was saved by her faith and her marriage to Zeke (Jim Gaffigan) before that she was drifting. August ‘Augie’ Slaughter (Thomas Mann), their son, is drifting too. He no longer attends service and no longer believes.

Mara gets engaged to Garret (Lewis Pullman) who is a true believer. Pastor Childs mentors him and blesses their engagement. But Mara has a secret. She’s in love with Augie. Augie is in love with her. She might even be pregnant. But Augie is outside the family and the church’s protection.

You have your jumping off point. Triangulation between characters and beliefs. In other words, conflict. Drama’s poisonous lifeblood. Well worth watching how it plays out.