Wednesday 14 June 2023

REVIEW: Nefarious (2023) - Starring Jordan Belfi and Sean Patrick Flanery

Review by Jon Donnis
Recently it seems that I have concentrated on reviewing a lot of the big budget Hollywood releases, so today I thought it was time for a change, and that I would look at a Christian independent horror film written and directed by Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon.

In a state penitentiary, Dr. James Martin (Jordan Belfi ), a social psychologist, arrives for an interrogation with Edward Wayne Brady (Sean Patrick Flanery), a notorious serial killer and death-row inmate. Dr. Martin has taken over the role from Dr. Stewart, who tragically died by suicide the previous night. Edward, who is scheduled to be executed by electrocution later that day, believes he has multiple personalities, a diagnosis supported by Dr. Stewart.

Warden Tom Moss (Tom Ohmer), informs Dr. Martin that Edward's fate hinges on his diagnosis: if Dr. Martin deems Edward sane, he will be executed, but if Dr. Martin declares him insane with multiple personality disorder, Edward will be spared.

As Dr. Martin sits down to begin the interrogation; Edward rejects his human identity and claims to be a demon named "Nefariamous" inhabiting Edward's body. He insists that Satan himself gave him this name and prefers to be called "Nefarious" for short. Dr. Martin initially believes that Edward is merely pretending to be insane, but he becomes intrigued when Nefarious adamantly expresses his desire for execution. Surprisingly, Nefarious reveals that Dr. Martin will commit three murders before the day comes to an end.

The vast majority of the film takes place in the interrogation room with the two main characters Dr. Martin and Edward/Nefarious. As this film has a very tight budget, it needs to rely on the acting ability of Jordan Belfi and even more so Sean Patrick Flanery as the Nefarious character. Luckily both are very good actors, and Sean Patrick Flanery does an excellent job as the twitchy killer, trying to manipulate Dr. Martin.

Although the film is supernatural in origin, there are no visual effects, and as such the viewer really is left to make up their own mind as to if this really is a killer possessed by a demon, or if he is just a genius trying to manipulate everyone around him for his own crazy enjoyment.

As this is a Christian film, it has a strong story about good and evil, and even has famed American conservative political commentator, radio host, entrepreneur, and television producer Glenn Beck appear towards the end of the film as himself.

This is a well written and well-acted psychological horror film, the ending is rather predictable, but it doesn't spoil the enjoyment of the film.

The Good
A great example of what can be achieved with a very small budget if you have a decent story and good actors. Just over 90 minutes is about right, but perhaps could have been a little shorter.  Sean Patrick Flanery does an excellent and more importantly a convincing job as Edward/Nefarious.

The Bad
I would have liked to have had a bit more of a backstory on both the Dr. Martin and Edward characters, but I understand why that would have been tough considering the restrictions they had to deal with.

A simple film, with a strong story and great actors. Hard to find films like that these days.

You don't need to be religious to enjoy the film, in fact because of the way it is filmed, everything is very much left up to the viewer to decide, which is a great decision by the film makers.

I score Nefarious a strong 8.5/10

Out now on Digital at