Them That Follow (2019) Poster

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Interesting, but not for everyone...
LiveLoveLead16 February 2020
Slow-paced. Brooding. Intriguing. Good acting. An unusual movie about a backwoods, Pentecostal, snake-handling congregation. Sinful secrets are bubbling under the surface and threaten to ruin the tight-knit, faithful community. The writers made a creative choice to surround an overplayed love story with the interesting addition of giving us a window into a fairly unknown and controversial religious sect. In My Humble Opinion, it definitely won't be for everyone, with its unorthodox subject matter, subdued acting, and inconclusive ending... but it held our attention through to the end.
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Did anyone actually watch this?
nancyhotz2 February 2020
This is a great, small film. Not slow, not anti anything. Just a slice of life in a community that is isolated and often misunderstood.
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A gripping, visceral movie with great empathy for its characters
moritzmeyerautor25 March 2019
Them that follow starts off as quiet movie, almost a social study of a rural, religious community in the US hinterlands. But right from the beginning you can feel, that there is something dark brooding under the soil of this fragile community. And sure enough, the tension breaks at the end into a visceral finale. When the movie almost turns into body horror, you find yourself at the edge of your seat, begging the characters would stop with their gruesome actions. And while you want to look away, you realize that you just can't. This movie already has gone into your veins like the poison of the rattlesnakes, that play such a prominent role in this community drama. Them that follow portraits the coming-of-age of Mara, the pastor's daughter in a religious community, that seems estranged from civilization. Her father and his religious followers practise an equally strange and dangerous version of christian belief. During the service they deal with deadly poisonous snakes, that they collect in the woods. By handling the snakes, the worshippers put their live in God's hands, with the promise that all sins may be forgiven, if you survive the encounter with the reptiles. Mara does not question this behaviour and her own faith, until she becomes engaged with a young man from the village, while secretly loving another. This love triangle leads to unchristian behaviour and, sure enough, the snakes come into play. Mara finds herself into a position, where she must challenge her own belief to save the man she loves. I saw Them that Follow at South-by-Southwest 2019, not knowing anything about this movie. And I have to say, by the end I was fully gripped. The story, which is based on existing snake handler communities, unfolds slowly, but is rip-roaring at the end. The performances from the young actors are very good and you believe in the relationship of the characters. But it is Olivia Colman and Walter Goggins who stand out in the great cast. It is them, who give this people a heart and soul, by portraying as real people, who care deeply about their loved-ones. They are religious fanatics, but they are not insane. Their actions come from, well, good faith and they have the best intentions for the people, who are close to them. That you feel empathy for these characters is credit to the fabolous actors and the good direction of directors and screenwriters Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage. Both have personal experiences with fringe religious groups. Them that follow is an indie-surprise. It is heartfelt, gripping and willing to pull some necessary punches to deliver it's story. Worth a watch!
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macfaefan10 August 2019
Slow and dull. The acting was good but could do nothing for the poor script. I think it wanted to make the public aware of the snake handling cult churches. The side story was supposed to be about Mara and auggie . Nothing to see there. I just felt nothing with this movie.
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Beautiful Execution!
SoumikBanerjee257 May 2020
This film talks about 'Belief' system or should I say the extreme scale of it. It tells us the story about a small group of Religious people who just believe too much on regressive cultural traditions. Having faith isn't a bad thing but when that faith crosses a certain line; things could go awry! Although the film takes some amount of time before it begins to show its true characteristics but the wait was worthwhile indeed.

Filled with picturesque locations, beautifully crafted cinematography with Haunting sound score it just fits so well all over. The performances are captivating. Each one of the ensembled cast did a fantastic job portraying Underlying emotions with never going over the top. Although the plotline isn't poured with too much thrill but still it does a commendable job in terms of Tension Build up.

And the most strong thing about this movie should be the middle approach. It never talks you out of Religious beliefs nor our cultures. It just shows us where a Line must be drawn. It never forces us to take their own opinions or Ideologies on us but showcases where we should decide ourselves on what is wrong and what is right! When the extreme circumstances do occur, we have to take matters into our hands and never let them be. Otherwise these regressive thoughts might create chaos in the society that might turn into unrest.

I just loved what they did with the subtle lessons here. They just wanted us to decide where should we draw our line in terms of having faith. As I said earlier, Having faith isn't bad but having a 'Blind' Faith always result in dire consequences.
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Much more than a thiller. There is love in them thar woods.
donaldjsavage2 March 2019
Great movie. A "slow burn" as some have called it. But, Dan Madison Savage and Britt Poulton (writer/directors) take their time letting you get to know the characters, the community and the Pentecostal offbeat religion in a non judgmental way, allowing the film to emotionally explode in the final 30 minutes. The audience at the Sundance Film Festival premiere were on the edge of their seats with audible gasps. A standing ovation for a good 10 minutes as the credits rolled and the principals were introduced. The snakes can be scary, but religious snake handler religions are real in rural Appalachia. There is some terror but that is not the main theme. It's a love story, a coming of age story and an insight into a real but generally unknown sect, The cast is amazing. including 2019 BEST ACTRESS Oscar winner Olivia Colman, (Incredible. you won't believe it's her .... as a back woods convenience store owner and community matriarch), Walton Goggins, (perfectly casted fire and brimstone preacher), comedian Jim Gaffigan (seriously serious in this flick. In 3 films at Sundance) and Alice Englert (Amazing performance. I don't want to spoil the scenes she endured, and excelled in). Most critics are positive, but a few failed to think about what they were watching and gave up on it too early. TTF was picked up by Orchard (now 1091 Media) for North America and Sony International worldwide. Hoping to see it in theaters this summer. Definitely should be on your watch list. Recently announced release date June 21. 2019
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Thin. Very Thin.
truemythmedia4 September 2019
This movie trades on its exploration of these snake charming backwoods recluses yet never really grapples with the issues one might think would be present in such a film. Remove the snake handling from this film and it's about as standard a story as you can find with familiar beats of action along the way.

Even this wouldn't bother me if there was character movement but there isn't much to speak of. Our protagonist Dilly (Kaitlyn Dever, "Booksmart") seems to feel the same way at the start of the film as she does until the last 5 minutes or so. Her father, (Walton Goggins, "The Hateful Eight") is extremely one note: domineering. What a waste of an actor. As a cult leader we get none of the likability that should go with his character. He is a monolithic controlling man and nothing else.

We see Dilly struggle because she wants to be with her beau but never do we see what it is that draws her to want to stay in her community except fear. Where is the trust, love, and friendship that she should be so fond of as to not want to leave? Only the sense that she knows nothing else but this and can't even think about leaving for the disruption it would cause.

As a person who has struggled with my faith at various times and has had many conversations with those that have as well and come to very different conclusions than me, I can tell you that leaving a tight knit community like that is rife with fear, certainly, but that fear is mixed up in a myriad of other emotions as well which paralyze you into innaction.

We never see this complicated view. Instead this film opts for simple, cut and dry answers which anyone can get behind. Of course we want her to leave. She's being abused. How much more interesting if her situation was more convoluted, full of love for some people, fear of others, and a fear to leave her own faith behind.

What about the side characters? Why do they stay? They are all under the same oppression as Dilly. They just don't have a boy from the outside who thinks they are cute, I guess?

These ideas and questions all seem to fall by the wayside in service to the almighty point of the film which must be made in the most obvious ways possible lest anyone, least of all Dilly, come away with any other thought than, 'That church was bad. That boyfriend was good."
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Realistic romance with a lot in the mid-ground
Elijah_T27 December 2019
Mini Review: A drama influenced thriller about a religious and somewhat self-isolating community that's effectively blanketing a realistic romance.

Rant Time: People say this movie has a slow first half during which nothing happens, but that's a damn lie. There's so much going on in the mid-ground of the plot and I ate it up gladly. (minor end spoiler ahead) The ending's damn near perfect with its conclusiveness and beautiful with its visuals and performance. I mean, seriously people, how much do you want handed to you?

This is the type of film that expects its audience to think about what they're seeing and put themselves in its characters' shoes. Damn, I thought I really liked it, but I just realized I love this movie.

Side Note: I enjoyed the realistic romance that this film presented, especially the conflicts and moments of intimacy. I don't know about the others, but the Official US Trailer (2:14) is mostly safe.
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It seems to go on forever
mjsreg25 October 2019
This movie is about the standard 90 minutes long but at the 60 minute point I felt like I had watched it for two hours. It dragged on and on.

The story is OK - not that much really happens of much interest. It would have been much more engaging if the story explored the turmoil of the characters in more depth - I did find it very superficial for the most part.

It's not a movie I would watch again.
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Saved By the Third Act
ThomasDrufke24 August 2019
An extremely slow burn about faith, secrets, and nature vs nurture set deep in the Appalachian Mountains? Yeah I'm in. The good news is that the acting is superb, the direction and cinematography are eerie, but the story only begins to get interesting in the third act. And for a film that is merely 98 minutes long, that's not exactly something to write home about. And unfortunately, stories like this won't be seen in masses.

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A Test of Faith
reidandgenene8 April 2019
This is a beautiful and deeply felt look into a small subculture of America, charismatic Christian religious cults which revolve around the handling of poisonous snakes. It is not an exposee -- each person is acting from sincere emotions and beliefs, however misguided they may appear to most of us. For instance, they reject modern medical care, preferring to rely on the Holy Ghost to heal people.

As in 'Witness' years ago, the cohesion of the group is the predominant factor in all aspects of the lives of its members. The story focuses on the daughter of the charismatic preacher. She is a strong believer, and yet is attracted to a youth who has rejected the religion.

The movie is superbly acted, with Oscar winner Olivia Colman, the always memorable Walton Goggins as the preacher, and Kaitlyn Devers from the TV show 'Justified'.
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whocares-9623728 March 2020
This was a dozer for sure, keeping my eyes open was a challenge.

So this was supposed to be a back woods kind of cult thing, honestly these people had WAY to neat of hair and far too many teeth to resemble anything like the true backwoods, extremist, hill people that the director is trying to be portray.

The movie lacked spark, lack staying=power.
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This is NOT a horror movie.
kjhott19 February 2020
I almost didn't watch this film because of so many negative reviews. This is a very good independent film. It is not a fast paced action movie or a thriller full of suspense. This is a film that is beyond the everyday coming of age story because of the Pentecostal aspect. This is a close knit community with very strong beliefs. They are on the fringe of society. At no time was I bored. Walton Goggins performance was superb. I was impressed with all the actors performances. If you like independent films I urge you to check it out. If you prefer the bigger budget action films or romantic comedies then this is not for you.
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Basic melodramatic tropes are met but portrait of religious extremism lacks characterological complexity
Turfseer6 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Fresh from her Oscar win in The Favourite, Oliva Colman is back, this time going "all indie" in the directorial debut of newcomer scenarists Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage. Reminiscent of the earlier 2010 Indie, Winter's Bone, Them That Follow also follows a group of rural folks (this time set in Appalachia).

These "folks" are religious fundamentalists with a church run by pastor Lemuel Childs (Walton Goggins). Childs has everyone under his grip including his daughter Mara (Alice Englert), who briefly falls for the young Augie (Thomas Mann), a local auto mechanic, who has grown disillusioned with Childs' Pentecostal church.

Oh one thing I forgot to mention-the church really is a cult in which parishioners test God's power by embracing poisonous snakes. Clandestine meetings are held to avoid scrutiny by local law enforcement with Childs the number one promoter of an "us against them" mentality.

Colman plays Hope Slaughter, Augie's Mom, and she's just about as fanatical as the pastor. Mara is now towing the party line and agrees to an arranged marriage with Childs' hand-picked suitor, the dutiful sycophant Garrett (Lewis Pullman), who soon learns that Mara is pregnant with Augie's child. Eventually the pastor is forced to expel him from the church after he tries to rape Mara, in revenge for her so-called betrayal.

Most unconvincingly, Augie decides to forsake his contempt for the church and agrees to undergo a ritual snake bite ceremony, in order to prove his love for Mara. After being bitten by a snake during the ceremony, Augie falls deathly ill and even his Mom refuses to countenance the idea of taking him to the hospital. She even goes along with the parishioners who end up sawing off Augie's arm in a last ditch attempt to save his life.

Mara finally comes around at film's end, defies her father (who excommunicates her) and drives Augie to the hospital where presumably he'll be cured. Hope by the way also sees the light and realizes that the drive to the hospital is a "good thing."

Them That Follow is a grim story in which all melodramatic tropes are checked off. Augie is the broken victim and deep down Mara is the angel who realizes the error of her ways after being brainwashed by her evil pastor-dad. The script is strictly "black and white" with few shades of gray. Somehow the characters here need to be more complex, with perhaps the bad guys infused with some charm (as well as humanity) and the good ones, a little less angelic.

All performers manage to acquit themselves nicely, especially Colman who once again does well in the intense part as the obsessed "believer." Them that Follow is a bit slow moving with one too many snake handling scenes, which ends up becoming repetitious.

In the end, one wonders how newcomers Poulton and Savage came up with their sensational story and characters of religious extremism; is it based on an article culled from the tabloids? One gets the impression that the screenwriters really only know of their religious fundamentalist characters from a distance, as they are painted too unsympathetically, with little verisimilitude to boot.
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The actors are good but story line, plot, most of dialogue and pacing are horrible
random-7077822 October 2019
The first 2/3 of this film are very slow paced, interminable burden on the viewer. The last 1/3 is a series of predictable jump scares and tropes. They are shallow and silly, but I guess the point of the first 2/3 is to put you in such a torpor that you fall for the jump scares.

The acting is not bad at all. But over all this just fails on several core levels due to script pacing and hamfisted directing.
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Backward Mountain Community
claudio_carvalho3 May 2020
In a backward mountain community that worships the serpent, Mara (Alice Englert) is the daughter of Pastor Lemuel Childs (Walton Goggins). When she is proposed to get married with the local Garret (Lewis Pullman), Mara has to face her demons and come up to a decision.

"Them That Follow" is a slow-paced film about the relationship of religious fanatics in a backward community in the mountains. The pace is too slow and the theme is unpleasant. But for those that like the genre, the movie is not bad. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): Not available
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Boring AF
Draysan-Jennings25 October 2019
Wow! that was just terrible. If you like really slow drawn out movies that are extremely boring. This movie is for you..If not..skip this one. You won't regret it.
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Can't see his plan.
nogodnomasters15 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This is a slow burn drama about a community of isolated snake handlers. Mara (Alice Englert) is the daughter of "take up the serpent" preacher (Walton Goggins). Like most people, everyone is wrong but them when it comes to religion and they don't understand why the government takes away their poisonous snakes. Mara has issues. She is devoted to her faith. She is pregnant by one boy and marries another without telling anyone. As secrets unravel, the film picks up.

Guide: No F-word. Brief rape. No nudity.
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Horrible, just horrible
dussaultjulien3 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This has to be one of the worst movies I've seen this year. It is a total waste of time. Somehow I managed to finish it because I thought maybe, just maybe it might get good, but nope.

Shake Worshiping Christians arw whack, we all know that. The only good thing about this movie is that it shows a Hollywood side of it that is shocking, but when the story isn't written well, and the actors try their best, sometimes a little too hard, it really makes for both bad filmmaking and story writing.

This is a total waste of time. Don't believe the reviews that say about it picking up in the third act.
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Religion and their lunatic followers, it's always kinda entertaining.
deloudelouvain2 November 2019
Going by the title I thought I would watch a horror movie but it turns out to be a movie about God worshipping lunatics. So all in all it actually turns out to be a horror movie, or at least to me, as I'm a convinced atheist and there's nothing more disturbing to me than religion, any kind of religion. That being said you get the picture, it isn't a horror movie, but it's a watchable movie, a movie I did enjoy as I always have a fascination for watching crazy people. The story could be unreal to a normal sain person but the fact that this happens sometimes makes it interesting to watch. The cast wasn't bad either so that's a bonus.
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ixtasis12 August 2019
Boring story. Nothing happens that you don't expect. I hate snakes. Exploits worst aspects of religious thinking.
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A slow burn lol
marshy-9197224 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Talk about a slow burn!!! Its possibly the most boring film i have seen over the last 5 years!!! Basically about a love triangle with a girl and 2 boys, he gets bitten by a snake, gets his arm chopped off and she takes him up to the mountains away from a cult group the end, this film was a drab nights viewing im gutted iv paid £7 to see it jesus christ!!!
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Extremely Boring!
Andreea9528 October 2019
Nothing makes me angrier than wasting my time watching a movie where nothing ever happens. If you're like me than I suggest you skip watching this piece of nothing. Everything was boring about this movie: the acting, the writing, the soundtrack, the cinematography and not to mention the story (which is about a group of religious people who do weird stuff in the name of God) that has been done a lot of times and much much better. Don't waste your time or your money watching this.
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jmholmes-7372728 August 2019
No need for a story line that turns out to be so simple to be so confusingly presented in the first half. Aren't writers taught how to convey relationships in the form of dialog to help the audience follow the action any more? This problem almost sinks the movie, until after a while when it does become coherent. Last half hour or so is quite terrifying as you realize the extent of the family's commitment to their insane (there is no other word) religious beliefs. The performances, especially by Olivia Coleman and the actor who plays the preacher, are first rate. A low budget version of the similar idea in the recent MIDSOMMAR, though not nearly as effective.
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A near miss but worth seeing
Dcamplisson16 August 2019
This was a fascinating look at one manifestation of Protestantism and what happens when people Mistake a slice of pizza for the whole pie. Fixated on one verse of the Bible and having no intellectual tradition whatsoever, this group focuses on snake handling and slurping up poison. This could easily be just a mocking piece, but it gets beyond that. The pastor is indeed not too swift, but is not shown as a cult leader or tyrant. Just a bully and an educated man.

The film however does a very good job of showing the community, who basically are in educated hillbillies, with empathy and understanding. It also shows how ultimately humanity comes out even when their lives are layered in piles of ignorance. When crucial decisions need to be made, Humanity trumps misguided slavishness. One inexplicably missing element is Their liturgy. It is the most interesting thing about this group ( maybe the only interesting thing, without which there no different from thousands of other Protestant groups) is their liturgy. But there's only a tiny bit, which is treated artistically , rather than being served up raw. Having a stark presentation of the snake handling routine might have been more effective. It's very odd That there's very little of that visceral liturgy. . It would really Have been much better if there was a lot more liturgy so the viewer could understand more what the attraction is. The cast do a good job steering clear of cliche and stereotyping. They are able to look comfortable in the grumpy clothes and dilapidated buildings without becoming " other". Overall it was very interesting and entertaining although 4 more minutes swinging an anaconda would be added a star
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