Every great once in a while, you stumble upon a movie that exceeds even your wildest expectations. Given the IMDb rating of 4.0, I wasn't really expecting much with The Brotherhood of Satan. I hoped that at a minimum it might be cheesy fun like The Devil's Rain or any of the other early 70s similarly themed Satanic horror films. I couldn't' have been more wrong. What I got instead was an ambitious and intelligent film with a cast I really enjoyed. Speaking in broad terms to avoid giving anything away, the film's style and structure are much more experimental than the straightforward storytelling so prominent in the early 70s. The Brotherhood of Satan doesn't beat you over the head with plot points and explanations. A lot is left to the viewer to fill in the blanks. As a viewer, you know something is amiss, but for the longest period you're just not sure what it is. The unknown helps make for a far creepier atmosphere than most similar films. The ending is effective with its surreal imagery. I sat in amazement as the final credits began to roll. Those wanting a big slam-bang finale will be disappointed with the ending's simplicity. A lesser film would have tried to pull out all the stops and would, most likely, have failed miserably.
There are moments in the film where it's easy to forget the director, Bernard McEveety, had primarily worked in television before The Brotherhood of Satan. There are a few scenes that are so well set-up, lit, and shot that even the most accomplished of directors could learn a thing or two. For example, I've seen enough films over the years to realize that directors can sometimes seem to have trouble shooting widescreen shots indoors. Not here. The scene where the men are discussing their plan of action in the sheriff's office is amazing. We see all five men at once - each doing their own thing as in real life. In a lesser film, we might see all the men at once, but each would be motionless, quietly waiting their turn to deliver their dialogue. It's a small scene, but it looks so natural and is so beautifully shot that it's one of my favorite moments of The Brotherhood of Satan.
Finally, I mentioned the acting in my opening, so without going into a long-winded speech, I'll just say that The Brotherhood of Satan features Strother Martin and L.Q. Jones. Any film with these two guys is almost an automatic winner with me.
The Brotherhood of Satan
The Brotherhood of Satan
A family is trapped in a desert town by a cult of senior-citizens who recruit the town's children to worship Satan.
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April 01, 2019 at 06:53 AM