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  We Still Say Grace Christian Hospitality
Year: 2020
Director: Brad Helmink, John Rauschelbach
Stars: Holly Taylor, Bruce Davison, Rita Volk, Arianne Zucker, Dallas Hart, Frankie Wolf, Xavier J. Watson
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Harold (Bruce Davison) is a farmer out in the middle of nowhere who tends to his family of youngest daughter Maggie (Holly Taylor), eldest daughter Sarah (Rita Volk) and his wife Betty (Arianne Zucker) to ensure they do not fall into the hands of the sinners. He has quite a bee in his bonnet about sinners, and obsessively warns the three women to follow the Good Book intently so as to stave off any temptation, not that they ever see anyone out here in the back of beyond. But he takes it further: tonight he gives them wine to drink for his own form of Communion, then informs them that it was poisoned, and they are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven soon. The women are terrified, until he reveals it was one of his tests, though the day of judgement may be sooner rather than later...

We Still Say Grace was a cross between a horror flick and a hostage thriller, all with a religious flavour, or rather, an anti-religious flavour as it never passed over an opportunity to lampoon the ultra-pious firebrand at its centre. Though seemingly affable on the outside, inside Harold is a broiling cauldron of hatred for his fellow man, and his feelings about women are not much healthier, aside from his belief they should be protected, not twigging that they actually need protection from him, rather than any passersby. So what do you know, the day after his forced suicide pact stunt that wasn't, three likely lads show up at the door of their farmhouse asking to use their telephone, since they have two flat tyres, having journeyed on a road trip from Chicago and become stuck on the way to California.

Harold could not be friendlier, though he does have that insistence on bringing God into every conversation in a somewhat evangelical bent, but the boys write this off as backwoods idiosyncrasy and appreciate his hospitality. Only Maggie's curiosity about the outside world threatens to upset that, asking questions of them which her father grows impatient about, even more when they answer her politely. She ends up with no dinner as a result, meanwhile one of the boys asks to be excused to go to the bathroom, but in fact wants an excuse to go exploring: since Harold has poured away their beer in a display of intolerance which is pretty mild considering how this pans out afterwards, this chap is delighted to see a bottle of wine in the prayer room and helps himself. But oh dear, this was the wine that was poisoned, the one the fanatic plans to use for his family pact.

The religious really got it in the neck from writers and directors Brad Helmink and John Rauschelbach, as if they nursed a genuine grudge against them, but not the live and let live type of faithful, more the fire and brimstone sort who turn the supposed love of the Almighty into hate. To that end they went way over the top - this was a movie that thought the burning crosses trope was a valid method of getting the point across - but not unenjoyable, especially in Davison's performance as the Godbotherer who has taken his beliefs to murderous extremes, you will not be surprised to learn, indeed it was a very good cast all round. This hypocrisy of those who claim to be doing the work of the good and righteous when they are actually twisted and corrupt in their dark souls was sufficient to fuel what was a slightly slim premise otherwise for the full hour and a half, and Taylor made a plucky heroine who is waking up to the reality of her situation and weighing her options for getting the heck out of there. If it was all a bit obvious and unsurprising, it was delivered with a sense of humour that not everyone was going to appreciate, though if you did, you would approve. Music by Mel Elias.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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