Beware the Brethren (1972)

Article 2499 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-6-2008
Posting Date: 6-15-22
Directed by Robert Hartford-Davis
Featuring Ann Todd, Patrick Magee, Tony Beckley
Country: UK

A sexually repressed young man has become a serial killer while his equally repressed mother becomes a member of a cult religion.

This one starts out promisingly enough with a sequence which juxtaposes scenes of the religious cult holding a mass while the murderer stalks a woman. I also liked the skill with which the identity of the murderer is revealed to us, and the movie occasionally makes creative use of sound. However, even during these bits, I was a little put off by the lack of subtlety, the rather ham-handed use of symbolic imagery, and a sense that the movie was more than a little overbearing. Unfortunately, the good things about the movie soon evaporate and the problems take over. The first half of the movie mostly belabors the discoveries we make about the characters in the first few minutes of the movie, and the second half of the movie makes a weird left turn away from the serial killing and focuses on the cult religion, and it ends with a bizarre sequence which is alternately bizarre and obvious, but ultimately unsatisfying. I also think the “gospel music” poorly chosen; it sounds more like seventies soul-pop than gospel music, and it’s just weird watching someone play the organ while no organ is heard in the music. All the major characters start coming off as twitchy basket cases before it’s all over, and the movie’s constant dwelling on the fetishism of the serial killer gets tiresome as well. Director Robert Hartford-Davis also gave us CORRUPTION and INCENSE FOR THE DAMNED; this is nowhere near as good as the former, and only slightly better than the latter.



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