Director: John William Holt (as John Holt)
Writer: Jason Turner
Stars: Bill Oberst Jr., Austin Madding, Abby Murphy
The Dooms Chapel Horror spends considerable time setting up an excellent cult (as in an actual cult, not cult as in Rocky Horror Picture Show cult) horror film, then with about fifteen or so minutes left, it abruptly steers left and becomes a POV, shaky cam epic of monster destruction . Not that there is anything wrong with that – its just I was prepared for some weirdo cult action.
The story is told through home video, found footage, a faux documentary amongst other methods. It revolves around Kyle Cole a man who has come back to town after leaving 10 years ago, to escape the glare of the town after the death of his all American brother Ryan in an unfortunate farm accident literally shredding him. As he arrives back in town, he is not well received, his girlfriend and his documentary maker pal are shunned by everyone except for Kyle’s only friend Henry. After Kyle has a run in with Samuel, a guy he hung around with for a while before he left – it becomes clear that Kyle has a past in this town and it is coming back to haunt him.
First off in a smaller budget film, it really, really helps if the acting is good and The Dooms Chapel Horror has some excellent performances. Bill Oberst Jr. is once again (like in most of his films) fantastic. His cult leader Jordan is a creepy mix of pious (in his own terms) and dangerous. Austin Madding does a good job with Kyle as well, it’s a performance which requires him to go through a lot of emotions which he does, obviously some scenes are better than others but overall it is a solid performance. Joshua Mark Robinson is absolutely spot on as Samuel the devout disciple of Jordan, exactly like Jordan but without any of the control. Abby Murphy plays Mandy Kyle's girlfriend, with a touch of sensitivity but also wariness as she finds out more about Kyle. Everyone else plays their part and there is not a bad performance among them.
John Holt directs them film very well, the exception being the monster mash, which is a touch too messy to know exactly what is going on but perhaps that was the point. He delves into the bag of tricks even using a Deer Cam camera, to keep the action rolling. It’s a well put together film and Holt clearly has some talent. I talked about the films about face previously and I can see why they went that way but for me I was really enjoying the atmosphere that had been created and felt that it took me out of the film. The Dooms Chapel Horror is certainly worth a look, it’s a very solid indie entry and I hope that we will see more from Holt and co.
Images: IMDb & 28Dayslateranalysis.com