‘Them That Follow’ Review: A Slow-Burn Appalachian Gothic Tale That Descends into Body Horror Territory [Sundance]
Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2019 by Chris Evangelista
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” This line from the book of Luke helped give birth to the religious rite of snake handling in Appalachia. As is the case with often questionable religious practices, the worshippers following this tradition have taken things literally, pulling hissing, venomous snakes from crates and practically daring the creatures to bite them. If they are truly one with the Holy Spirit, they will remain unharmed. If they’ve sinned? Well, that’s another matter.
An Appalachian snake handling community is at the center of Them That Follow, an almost unbearably tense drama from directors Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage. In this closed-knit community of worshippers, there’s nothing to fear from serpents…as long as you haven’t transgressed.