[Film Review] How far would you go to help others? | The Leech (2022)
Well, this is one messed up game of never have I ever.
This review is mostly spoiler free as I just get into a more detailed version of the movie's outline at the intro. But any big spoilers of the story are left out for you to enjoy and share with your friends once you get around to watching this film. If you want to be fully spoiler free of this film, VOD links will be down below to watch in your preferred streaming service. Thanks for reading!
Eric Pennycoff's The Leech starts off with Father David (Graham Skipper / Sequence Break), a devout priest struggling to grow his church congregation. One day during service, Father David asks the very few people at his church what are they doing to bring others closer to God. After service, right when he is about to leave and close his church, he hears a man who appears to be sleeping inside. Terry (Jeremy Gardner / Sadistic Intentions), a man who found himself trying to sleep in the pews is awakened by David, who was kind enough to offer him a place to spend the night. Something that started as an innocent and kind offer is about to turn into this priest's worst nightmare...
The Leech takes place during a dark and snowy holiday season, where the weather can make everything feel extra gloomy at times. On top of this, you get to see some personal struggles with David when it comes to his church and how much it all means to him and his friend Rigo (Rigo Garay), who is also trying to help David bring new members to his church. Something about the festive season, the setting, the characters personalities and the story really brings that extra darkness to this film. Back to the film, Father David meets Terry (who by the way, curses like a sailor) and offers him a place to stay after learning that Terry was thrown out by his girlfriend, Lexi (Taylor Zaudtke / Sadistic Intentions). At first, Terry wouldn't take the offer but David insisted that this was the right thing to do... oh David, you just couldn't let doing a good deed pass you by, could you?
Once they arrive to his house, Terry slowly starts unleashing the hell that is about to open up for David. From loud rock music late at night to smoking inside his home, this stranger has already gotten a little too comfortable for David's liking. The next morning at the church, a woman enters the confession booth and tells David that she was pregnant but did not intend to keep it or tell the baby's father about the pregnancy. After his day comes to an end at church, David decides to head home to do his daily routine until he is interrupted by his door bell ringing. A distressed Lexi is at the door looking for Terry as she has been evicted. Terry tells her that she can stay, completely throwing off David as he only agreed to let Terry stay but ultimately decides to invite them both into his home as he feels this is a sign from God to provide shelter. The next day, Terry asks David if they could stay through the holidays which David agrees to under the condition that they are both willing to be helped and let God into their lives. But David has a "bigger plan"... as he thinks Lexi is the woman from church who confessed about her unwanted pregnancy and can "help" both of them to continue their lives together and as a family under God.
So recap with me: Father David takes in Terry to his house for the night as a nice thing to do so he doesn't have to sleep outside. Lexi (Terry's girlfriend) is evicted from her house and ends up at Father David's house. David wants to help them both because 1) he think's he's being a good Samaritan (I'll leave that up to you though) and 2) he thinks Lexi is pregnant and they may need guidance from God. "Ok but I thought this was a horror film?" Well, I only gave you a bit of the intro, you think I'm gonna let you in on the whole film? This is definitely one of those "if I had to watch it, so do you" kind of film because wow, what a rollercoaster does it become.
This is the first film I have watched from Eric Pennycoff, (who not only directed but also wrote The Leech and other films like Sadistic Intentions) and the ending to The Leech is something that will probably haunt me more than it should for weeks to come. When it comes to horror, I'm usually more of a "gore and disturbing movies are fun yeah!" but this one, even being labeled as a "Horror/Comedy" in IMDb, I really feel this needs a psychological horror label added on there for sure. Graham Skipper (Father David) did such an amazing job in playing this stressed out, spiraling out of control priest that there was even times I found myself feeling terrible for him because you could almost feel the stress through the screen of how the 2 guests were pushing his boundaries. As for Terry and Lexi, you really want to feel like maybe they're just people going through a rough time but Jeremy Gardner and Taylor Zaudtke had fantastic chemistry (they're married in real life!) that you couldn't help but be frustrated with both to do better while yelling "no no that's so bad don't do that oh no". You don't know what is happening with each character next and that kept me at the edge of my seat for the whole thing especially with the ending!
You know how they say "give them a hand and they'll take your arm" or other variations of this, this movie is exactly just that. It's frustrating, it's dark, it will leave you with a heavy feeling, it gives you hope and burns it 3 seconds later while getting a good chuckle out of you. But it really will have you asking yourself "how far are you willing to go to help someone in need?" all in the name of doing "the right thing". So if you're getting your holiday horror list together to watch with friends this season and all the other seasons to come, I highly recommend adding The Leech to that list.
Rating: 4/5 Knives 🔪
You can watch The Leech available right now on Arrow, Prime Video, Youtube and iTunes.
You can watch the trailer down below!