THE LAST SIN EATER (Michael Landon Jr). 120 minutes. Opens Friday (February 9). Rating: NN Rating: NN
In The Last Sin Eater, 10-year-old Cadi (Liana Liberato) helps bring her 19th-century Appalachian mountain community of Welsh immigrants out of the Dark Ages and into enlightenment.
But "enlightenment" here means Christianity. Sin Eater is the latest in Fox Faith's series of inspirational films that, according to its website, have "overt Christian Content or [are] derived from the work of a Christian author." Most faces in their films are lily-white. The poster for this one features a girl facing a blinding white light.
Cadi is guilt-ridden over the death of her younger sister, and seeks purification from the community's titular sin eater, a creepy Boo Radley type who symbolically eats the sins of the dead so their souls get wiped clean. (The Heath Ledger horror flick The Order dealt with this theme in another way.)
By nosing around with her young friends and yakking with a stranger spouting the good news (E.T.'s Henry Thomas) and village elder Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest), Cadi uncovers some dark secrets.
As directed by Michael Landon Jr. (yes, his dad had that Little House On The Prairie), the film's not terrible. Apart from the wobbly Welsh accents, the acting's decent, and there are enough touches of suspense, mystery and even romance to pass the time.
The final group baptism's a bit excessive, but if Fox can release horror films in its Fox Atomic division, why the hell not Jesus flicks? Let's see if there's a Canadian market.