When I was in college, I had to do a research paper on David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. When the entire ordeal took place, there was no Twitter, Facebook, or any other type of social media, so it was hard to know for sure what exactly was happening on a daily basis inside the walls of the Waco, Texas compound. I’m sure not all religious cults are the same, but Jourdan McClure’s Children of Sorrow may very well be a pretty clear indication of what is actually going on throughout these groups.
Ellen (Hannah Levien) has flown to New Mexico to join the Children of Sorrow, a religious group in which her sister belonged right before her death. Unfortunately, Father Simon (Bill Oberst Jr.) is a very convincing man, soon transforming Ellen and the rest of the group into his mindless followers, ready and willing to do anything and everything he says.
This film is not unlike Holy Ghost People; a young girl is in search of answers regarding the disappearance/death of her sister. That’s about as far as the similarities go, however. What I expected from Holy Ghost People is actually what I got in this film, instead. While People was tame and rather mild, Children of Sorrow is brutal and unrelenting. The amount of bloodshed displayed in this After Dark Original film was rather surprising and the last 20 minutes are actually hard to watch at certain points.
I have to give the casting director for this film the proper respect. Other than Oberst, I have never seen any one else from this film featured anywhere else, increasing the authenticity of the film that much more. These could have easily been real people in a real cult, offing themselves and each other just because their ‘father’ said to do so. Bill Oberst Jr. is one creepy man and fit perfectly for the role of Simon Leach. I see his name pop up a lot nowadays and I will certainly be on the lookout for more of his films, after seeing the performance he delivered here.
Are there really people out there that fall for this? Is the promise of shelter, and camaraderie, and love enough to blind them to the gruesome reality? It’s very sad to think that groups like this really exist.
This is a strong film with a strong base in reality. If you are in the mood for a film that actually deserves being filmed in the found footage style, be sure to check out Children of Sorrow.
I give this film 4 followers out of 5.