“Bring in the money! Stay awake! Smash out Satan!”
When a lonely, depressed young man (Nick Mancuso) is inducted into a Moonie-like cult, his friends (including Saul Rubinek as a struggling comic) and family members hatch a plot to rescue and deprogram him.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Psychological Horror
Response to Peary’s Review:
This “real life horror film” earns my vote as the single best movie ever made about cults. Full of many “convincing, terrifying” scenes, the film effectively shows how new recruits are brainwashed — through deprivation of adequate sleep, nutritious food, and privacy — and end up devoting their lives to collecting money for a messianic leader. Fortunately, director Ralph Thomas injects this undeniably freaky material with plenty of levity — primarily in the form of Rubinek’s character, whose humorous presence assures us that things will (hopefully) turn out okay in the end.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Saul Rubinek as David’s heroic friend-to-the-rescue
- Some truly freaky scenes — i.e., when David tries to take a walk by himself but is followed by a posse of “friendly” cult members
- Meg Foster — with her “creepy green eyes” — as “Sister Ingrid”, a local cult leader
- A powerfully realistic depiction of cult indoctrination and deprogramming
Yes. This excellent Canadian sleeper deserves wider viewing.