An interesting film for a select audience.

A couple of months ago, I watched and reviewed the film When a Woman’s Fed Up.  While I liked some aspects of the film, I also thought there were quite a few deficiencies in the film.  But, fortunately, I saw some promise in this young filmmaker as well—and I was clear about both in my review.  Well, just recently, I was surprised to hear from Mr. Horton—especially since he apparently thought my review was fair and acknowledged that the first film did have some problems.  He explained, however, that the film was made in a single day—and that does explain a lot.  He also asked me to see and review his upcoming film The Congregation and I thought this would be a nice chance to see if his work has improved.

The Congregation
Directed by
J. Horton
Cast
Courtney D. Harris, Shari Headley, Jerome Ro Brooks
Release Date
31 October 2014
Martin’s Grade: B

The Congregation is a comedy and like J. Horton’s other film, it has a very modest budget.  It’s about a church that’s been through a lot lately—having their third minister in only a very short time.  The first was involved in a sex scandal, the second was involved in a sex scandal and the third….well…we know nothing about the man—but some folks are assuming the worst!  Several members of the congregation have gotten together to undermine the new guy and keep him in his place or fire him.  Two of these conspirators are clearly power-hungry jerks and the other two are likable and easily led idiots.  As for the minister, he seems like a really nice guy—but his assistant (and no one is sure WHO she is) is ready for a big fight—one she won’t lose!  What happens next you’ll need to see yourself.

This film is clearly designed for churchgoing audiences.  Unlike When a Woman’s Fed Up, The Congregation is very, very family-friendly—having squeaky clean language and no content that anyone would find objectionable.  Because of this, it would be a great film for anyone on a church search committee or for a Sunday school class to see and discuss.  Naturally, non-Christian audiences might not particularly enjoy the film or be able to relate to the content.  But, with a plethora of new films in theaters that are designed to fit this niche market, seeing The Congregation would be a reasonably good bet to do well.

Am I saying it’s a great film?  It has its faults and obviously isn’t intended to be as cinematic as most films.  A few of the characters are a bit too broad for my taste and the film isn’t 100% polished.  It also has some very short silent film clips inserted in the film that simply don’t need to be there and are a bit distracting.  But, it is fun and for the right audience it’s a decent bet.  It also is much better than most of the super-low budget films I’ve seen recently.  I do hope the film does well, as this sort of fare is the sort of film folks like my mother-in-law would enjoy and provides an alternative to films with nudity, violence and other objectionable content.

Review by Lead Entertainment Writer & Film Critic, Martin Hafer