Title: She Who Must Burn (Fantasia 2015 review)

Also known as:

Year: 2014

Genre: Drama / Horror / Thriller

Language: English

Runtime: 93 min

Director: Larry Kent

Writer: Larry Kent

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3589016/

Angela, a counselor at a planned parenthood clinic, continues to help some local patients after the clinic is shut down. She gets a group of religious extremists after her and the people she helps. They want to see her burn in the fires of hell.

Our thoughts:
Larry Kent is not an unfamiliar name in Canadian cinema, having made a number of features since the '60s. He might not be the first name you think of when you think of Canadian film, but several of his movies are quite well-regarded by those who have seen them. He started out with exploitation but with "She Who Must Burn" he is mainly exploiting my anxiety and my anger towards extremists in religion - in the very best way, of course.

A fanatical evangelist kills a nurse in a planned parenthood clinic, after which the clinic is shut down. Angela worked as a counselor there, and people continue to see her for help after the clinic shuts down. When Angela helps the wife of one of the evangelists to get to a safe place after he raped and beat her, the group of religious nuts go after Angela and the people who came to her for help.

"She Who Must Burn" is not an easy watch - it's harrowing to the core. That's proof of talent in a filmmaker if there ever was. If a movie can get me as riled up and nervous as Larry Kent succeeded with in this, then that is a good movie in my eyes. There are some common traits between this and other movies dealing with a similar plot, but many of those movies come off as cheap horror movies in comparison. With a subplot of a storm coming, there is something very methodic to this movie, always making sure we don't feel safe. The evangelists are rather stereotypical but there isn't too much you can do to these characters if you want to stay within the frames of Christianity. The performances are still very effective despite being cut from the same cloth as characters we've seen before.

This is definitely not a gory movie, but there are several scenes that could turn the stomach of some. When there's violence it gets quite nasty. Right in the beginning we're treated to the birth of a stillborn, and while I have seen way worse scenes in many movies, I still found the dead baby incredibly creepy to look at. It prepares us for some heavy scenes that we'll get later on.

I'm confident that "She Who Must Burn" will split people. Even when acknowledging it as being effective and graphic, some people could have a problem with its ending. Personally I found myself to be in a state of both emptiness and relief at the same time as the credits rolled. It's in no way a happy ending, nor is it a fair ending - but there is something to it that sticks.

There's an anger brewing inside of me when I watch movies like "She Who Must Burn". I guess having lived my entire life free from religion, I find myself get very affected by extremists in film. "She Who Must Burn" is fuel to the fire. The movie is terrifying without ghosts or monsters, but because of the strong beliefs. I think you have a fair idea of what this movie is, so you probably know if it's for you or not. If you want to see an over-the-top religion horror that gets you to the core, then this is for you.

Positive things:
- Suspenseful and harrowing.
- Not executed as a cheap horror movie as many similarly themed movies are.
- Graphic and with good effects.

Negative things:
- The evangelists are a bit cliché.
- The end might split the opinions.

Gore: 2.5/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 0/5

We watched this movie thanks to:
Fantasia International Film Festival 2015

Reviewed by:


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