Sometimes you can tell when a title was written before the script, and Brendan Steere’s The VelociPastor is no exception. As the title implies, Steere’s latest feature film centers around an unconventional priest. This priest fucks a prostitute, murders pimps, fights swarms of ninjas, oh, and transforms into a dinosaur. Built on a vow of poverty, can its sins be forgiven? Or will it be forever damned into the fiery depths of the budget bin?
Made for a reported $35,000, the Internet dropped word of mouth and notoriety worth 10x that amount into Steere’s collection plate earlier this year. Delivering his trailer on YouTube, the goofy tone and wacky concept struck a chord—-no word on whether it was Gsus or a Dmin—with horror and cult film fans on social media. And if you’re not on board with a movie about a Raptor Priest–a literal bird of “pray”—then I dino what to tell you. Can it be the best dino-priest kung fu movie of the Cenozoic era? You bet Jurassican.
Admittedly, The VelociPastor clocks in a notch or two lower on the evolutionary ladder than your standard SyFy spoof-horror fare. At the same time, it evolves well beyond your standard CG-infested, straight-to-Prime schlock. Steere stretches well beyond the T-rex arms of his budget, making the most of his equipment and comically bad “prosthetics.” For the most part, the tone he sets matches the kind of movie that uses obvious mannequin parts as dismembered heads. It doesn’t take a degree from “Priest College” to understand what’s going on here.
And I do mean ‘for the most part.’ If this high concept/low budget pteroble parable has one objectively great thing going for it, it’s the music. The soundtrack features an indie pop-punk soundtrack, including bands like The Holy Mess, Math the Band, and Free Parking!. Steere combines these upbeat tracks with solid editing to create exquisitely entertaining musical interludes and montages that threaten to steal the show altogether.
Thus, the viewing experience suffers a bit from an overall tonal inconsistency. A handful of unnecessary side plots and backstories combine with the odd tonal shifts, threatening to condemn The VelociPastor to purgatory during the middle third. However, Steere raptures the climax, with a meteor shower’s worth of random, unexplained exposition, blind twists, and fun set pieces. Ultimately, he relishes in the awkward silliness of the ridiculous premise, finding multiple ways to genuinely entertain.
Is ‘The VelociPastor’ Dino-Mite or A Tyrannosaurus Wreck? [Review]