Bill Paxton (who also directed the film) plays the father of two pre-teen boys. One night he announces that God has visited him and has given him a mission. The father along with his two sons will hunt down demons and destroy (not kill!) them. God has also given them magical tools to complete their mission: a pair of work gloves, a length of pipe, and an axe. The gloves allow the user to detect whether or not the subject is a demon; the pipe is used to subdue the demon if necessary and the axe is used to ultimately destroy the demon.
After destroying their first demon (who looks just like a human) the younger son is on board with the mission, and even wants his fathers approval. The older son rebels because he thinks that his father is insane. The father punishes the older son to force him to believe that they are doing God’s work by destroying demons.
As the film opens, Matthew McConaughey (one of the now-grown sons) contacts an FBI agent played by Powers Boothe as the other son has become a serial killer. Comprised of a series of flashbacks, McConaughey tells the FBI agent the story of his father and his brother and trio’s involvement in killing demons. At the end there is a twist that took me completely by surprise.
The film is creepy and only hints at violence; all of the killings take place off camera. This film was overlooked when it came out and is very underrated. The movie relies more on atmosphere rather than gore. Paxton directed the film so that there is palpable sense of dread and uncertainty. Matthew McConaughey delivers a very understated performance unlike many of the other characters he has played.
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Worth a look for horror/suspense film fans who like atmosphere and dread over explicit violence. Also, it might be worth watching if you are a fan of Bill Paxton.
Skip it if horror films are not your thing or you don’t like Matthew McConaughey.
MDE’s Self-Appointed Movie Critic