What's sexier than vampires? How about vampires and celibate priests. Scratch that - the answer is obviously celibate priests fighting vampires in a future where personal hygiene is no longer fashionable and massive deserts surround cities that could have been lifted directly out of any Terry Gilliam movie.
Yeah, that's the ticket. Or so director Scott Charles Stewart, who brought us such previous theologically-challenged films as "Legion" would have us believe with "Priest," his latest ode to a very dusty God.
Let's get this out of the way: "Priest" is essentially "Alien 3" if it had been modeled after "West World" instead of set on a prison planet. We've got monks in robes with questionable facial tattoos and the inability to socialize with the opposite sex dueling with vampires that have been sent to the H.R. Giger School of Excessive Saliva and Exoskeletal Excellence (it's a two-year program). There's also a vampire cowboy in a hat and a poncho who lives on a train filled with birthing sacks and sawdust. I don't know where that came from, exactly, but I'm going to chalk it up to the startling originality of Scott Charles Stewart, who apparently has a very firm visual style that isn't completely derivative of Clint Eastwood in any way.
"Priest" attempts to set its vampire hunting film apart from other entries in the genre by insisting that its title characters refrain from using firearms when dispatching their prey. Oh wait, I mean "Priest" is exactly like every other vampire movie where the dude with the badass blades that he throws in the air and then spins around and then catches them again saves the day. Except this time, there's a train – did I mention the train? The train doesn't have any guns either, but then again, no one ever wins an argument with a train, so I guess the point is moot.
I don't want to live in a world where I can't discern whether the vampire eating me is male or female by way of visible genitalia or artfully applied makeup. I also don't want to have to run the risk that the bald guy in the robe sitting across from me on the subway isn't just a Friar Tuck enthusiast or a Jedi-wannabe, but actually a seriously sexually repressed servant of God. "Priest" combines both of these elements, and makes me pine for the 1994 film of the same name, where at least I knew who was going home with who by the time the credits rolled.
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