Obsession is usually a very effective subject for thriller films. Just look at Fatal Attraction and Misery. Unrequited love or an uneven admiration for someone can cause extreme tension and in some instances, danger. The new thriller Missionary takes obsession to new heights and it is a film full of all the creepiness and violence that usually comes with stalker fare. It takes obsession to pretty extreme heights and the results are not only frightening but genuinely entertaining.

Missionary focuses on Katherine (Dawn Olivieri), a mother struggling to raise her son Kelsey (Connor Christie). The father, Ian (Kip Pardue), is basically out of the picture but he makes an appearance every now and then. One day, two Mormon missionaries come to Katherine’s house to spread the word of God and Elder Brock (Mitch Ryan), one of the two missionaries, tosses a football around with Kelsey. This simple game of catch then causes Brock to become involved with Kelsey and Katherine’s lives. A casual sexual relationship between Brock and Katherine develops and everything seems fine. That is until Katherine decides to patch things up with Ian and this basically makes Brock snap as he develops a strong obsession for Katherine and decides to make her life an absolute living hell.

Brock is a terrific villain in this bloody thriller. He starts out squeaky clean and noble as a missionary but things take a turn for the worse as he quickly descends into madness and bloodshed ensues. Mitch Ryan (Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, Groupie) is great in the role and absolutely frightening. Brock’s obsession for Katherine grows and grows and provides for some scary and very tense scenes. Throughout the film, his mental state deteriorates and it is actually pretty interesting to see. Ryan definitely does a fine job in the role. Dawn Olivieri (American Hustle, House of Lies) is decent in the heroine role of Katherine. She can actually use this film as a way to get in the running of “Scream Queen” but that’s another issue. Kip Pardue actually gives a strong performance as Ian, the estranged husband and father hoping to reenter Katherine and Kelsey’s lives but met with some serious opposition from Brock.

The conflicts in Missionary are enormous and the payoff, extremely satisfying. Missionary makes all the right moves and director Anthony DiBlasi (Dread, Cassadaga) is to be commended for much of this. His shaky camera and use of natural light make things feel very realistic. He also shoots action sequences well and the movement of the camera actually reflects the viewer’s emotion, a very clever filmmaking technique. Missionary is a small film but with big aspirations. It isn’t a Hollywood blockbuster and its indie-like feel makes things feel tight and genuine. It is a thriller with at the center, a truly psychotic villain. The film focuses very intensely on Brock and his obsession with Katherine and it is done in a way that is raw and downright chilling. If you want a good jolt and care to see some quality performances then make it your mission to see Missionary.

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