Tablet Life & Arts

Movie review: ‘Missionary’

Back in the late ’80s/early ’90s, there was a small wave of movies about disturbed, obsessed women careening into people’s perfect lives and wrecking them. Fatal Attraction, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Single White Female come to mind.

Now, on a smaller scale, it’s the dudes’ turn. No Good Deed and The Guest (easily the year’s best B-movie) pivot on the notion of the straight-arrow charmer who smooth-talks his way past the front door and then turns out to be as twisted as a bag of snakes. Now comes the formulaic but well-made Missionary, where terror comes in the form of a clean-cut Mormon young man who just wants to spread the good word.

Dawn Olivieri ( House of Lies) is Katherine, a hard-working, recently separated and lonely single mom to 12-year-old Kesley (Connor Christie). So when two LDS guys on bikes show up and one of them, Kevin (a very good Mitch Ryan), builds an immediate rapport with Kesley, she lets them into her life.

But she’s not interested in Bible verses. After a secretive fling with Kevin, she has regrets — but it’s too late. Kevin is determined to make Katherine and Kesley his “celestial family,” and that’s when he flips the switch from saint to stalker.

While not nearly as smart or as much fun as The Guest, and neither as scary nor as campy as it could have been, Missionary works up a decent sense of foreboding .

Director Anthony DiBlasi, working from a script by Bruce Wood and Scott Poiley, does his best to paint Kevin as a rogue and not representative of Mormonism. Kevin’s brand of racism, for example, was long ago repudiated by the church.

But it’s doubtful the church is going to be using Missionary as a recruiting tool anytime soon.

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* *  (out of five)

Director: Anthony DiBlasi

Cast: Dawn Olivieri, Mitch Ryan

Rated: R (violence, sexuality, strong language)

Running time: 95 min.