Review of: Nefarious
“Nefarious” is a film based on the Steve Deace book called “A Nefarious Plot.” Steve Deace; host of the Blaze TV network show: “The Steve Deace Show,” is a Protestant man of faith, and is very bold about that faith. The show often has talks and discussions about the importance of faith. The movie “Nefarious” is billed as a horror movie and it's got an R rating, but there is literally no sexual content, overused profanity, excessive violence and gore except one scene near the end of the film, which probably granted it its R rating. This is a film your kid could potentially watch, but probably wouldn’t understand it enough to enjoy. However, if you were trying to ease your child into horror this would be acceptable for them to see. It is much more a “conceptual horror” flick than a straight horror flick.
Conceptual horror would be those thoughts that turn to things you think you see in the darker corners of your room at night that you cannot really make out, but you know it is there, and you know that it wants you to be afraid of it… And it is that feeling that just terrifies you to a point you cannot sleep well, if at all… It is not always all about seeing the focus-center of your monster on the screen, but rather seeing it in your imagination, and allow that to creep into your soul. The horror that kind of just stays with your after the fact. Hence, horror that only exists in concept and not physically on the screen.
SPOILERS AHEAD from this point…
“Nefarious” stars Sean Patrick Flanery and Jordan Belfi. It is set in a prison where convicted serial killer, Edward Wayne Brady (Flanery), is about to be executed at 11:00 PM that evening. A final psychiatric evaluation is necessary to prove that Edward is competent to be executed. Doctor James Martin (Belfi) is brought in to question him only to be told by Edward that he is a demon named NeFarious. Their dialogue, banter and exposition comprises the vast majority of the film.
On the good ole, INTERNET some are labeling this movie as a Christian horror film. This movie is not a Christian Horror Movie… Sure, it has Christianity in it. It is discussed, but this story is told more from an atheist or agnostic point of view or perspective, and not necessarily is a purely Christian one. While it brings some things of faith to the surface it isn't drenched in it. The NeFarious entity refers to itself as “a being” and an “entity” several times. It even complains about the label of being called a "fallen angel." While NeFarious is explaining to the Doctor what he is, he uses the word “Demon,” but in the context of describing himself much easier to save a longer drawn out conversation about what he actually is, which he winds up doing anyway during the progression of the evaluation.
After looking into this more and seeing interviews with the filmmakers (Chuck Konzelman, Cary Solomon) it is closer to Christians making a movie for non-Christians. I found it takes a far more agnostic approach to the theology parts of the story, which is exactly how I want to see content like this debated on film. If this film is Christian-based --it is stripped way way down to its core elements and really doesn't focus on the "good book's" aspects. It uses more logic, common sense and creativity to explain these things. To me, it treats Christianity much like Darren Aronofsky’s 2014 film, “Noah;” like a big misunderstood concept and humans just ran with that, making things up along the way, and saying it is “God’s WILL” for the past twenty centuries.
Christianity has always lacked much common sense, logic, and dare not be “too” creative with its teachings or the pit you shall go 😆. If you want a strictly Christian-based horror movie, find something else. Those old “Left Behind” movies from the 90s come to mind. If you want a horror movie that touches on; “what if it is all real,” in a realistic more logical style then this movie is awesome. Sean Patrick Flanery gives the performance of a lifetime. So much dialog and exposition in this, but damn is it good... It is worth it just for Sean’s performance as Edward Wayne Brady aka NeFarious...
This is a psychiatric evaluation so there is a lot of psychology here. NeFarious has struggles staying in control of Edward’s body from time to time during the evaluation. He has all these facial tics that might suggest he is trying to hypnotize Doctor Martin and plant the suggestion that he is, in-fact, a demon possessing Edward and not just a split personality dominating Edward’s mind at the time.
My only real mission here is to promote the film so others will see it and make their own evaluations, and judgements about the story and the film itself. If you have read the book it does differ from the film in the respect that it is less Christian and more Agnostic perspectives at play. As I stated above, Sean Patrick Flanery’s performance is epic here. I’d dare say it is best performance of his career as a complex character. I have seen many of his films, both the popular ones and the ones most probably never saw. During those early 2000’s loads of independent films were made that had a soft DVD release and never made it to national theaters or movie channels. This is all before streaming channels were available and I only had access to these DVDs due to where I worked and what I did at that job to know where to find these limited releases. Many of these films would either star or co-star Sean Patrick Flanery.
Sean is always solid in his performances but this one is special. Not only is he believable as a possible other worldly being, but just as believable if he is a person with multiple personalities at play. Sean has been on record to say this is the most important movie he has ever made and with his performance here I believe that to be true. I hope the streaming services give this film a fair shake as some of the other rubbish that gets distribution deals on these streaming platforms do. This movie is one of those movies that everyone should give a watch. Even if you do not care about the subject matter. As this reviews says, it is told from a more Agnostic perspective. The idea is to make your own judgements here. Give “Nefarious” a shot wherever you can find it. Rent “Nefarious” on Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, or buy it on Vudu, Amazon Prime Video.