Why the Newest Horror Movie ‘Nefarious’ Is One of the Clearest Presentations of the Gospel Hollywood Has Ever Seen
“He made you in His image, but we re-made you in ours,” the demon cackles as he speaks to a psychiatrist, unraveling his masterplan against God. He explains that destroying humanity is the chief goal from down below.
Christian filmmakers Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman throw their audience for a whirl as the first five minutes of their newest film contains a suicide, a murderer on death row, and demon-possession. “Nefarious” is classified as a horror movie and has been stamped with a big fat ‘rated R’ tag. There is a gruesome execution scene and a bone-chilling message throughout, but do not let that steer you away. This feature is one of the most piercing presentations of the Christian gospel that Hollywood has ever seen.
On the surface, the movie is about a notorious serial killer who is being interrogated by a social psychologist in prison before his scheduled execution date. The convicted murderer, Edward, begins to explain to the doctor that he is actually a demon named “Nefarious” that has possessed this human body and carried out these crimes. The psychiatrist, a devout atheist, thinks this is preposterous. He challenges Nefarious to explain why he should believe him, and this is where the tables turn. Nefarious begins descriptively explaining his masterplan against God. The fallen angel presents the gospel, but from the other side of the mirror. He explains what he is up to in present-day terms, touching on topics like abortion, euthanasia, and media, and he ultimately proves himself real to the psychiatrist.
In a much deeper way, this movie is a wake-up call for the audience. “We want to let them know. There is a battle going on for your soul. You just don’t realize it and that’s the secret of evil. You don’t realize you’re in this battle and so slowly but surely you get pulled into the darkness. Pay attention and wake up,” Solomon said in an interview. The producers explain that they see their job as their ministry, and they are trying to deliver God’s truth to the world in whatever vehicle will drive.
“This is the movie that Christians have been asking us to do for years,” Konzelman explained. “I can’t get my friends to go see ‘God’s Not Dead.’ I can’t get them to go see a movie where it looks like they’re about to be preached at. What I need is mainstream entertainment and then put something in the story that will allow us to have a conversation afterwards.’ And that’s exactly what this movie does.”
Solomon and Konzelman felt that their purpose from God was to pitch the message of Jesus Christ to people who would never go near a church. “The poster is a trojan horse. It is designed to pull the horror audience in. Those are the people that need to see this movie.” With a commission call like that, this duo knew that they were about to face some serious spiritual warfare in their journey of making this film.
In a recent interview, they explain some of the resistance that they and their team has faced throughout the process. “Some of the freaky things that happened had no earthly explanation,” Konzelman said. From various car accidents, to serious yet random health issues, to fire alarms going off in movie theaters across the country during the premier, it seems as if there is some opposition in their attempts to get the movie out.”
Despite the numerous incidents, “Nefarious” has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has experienced wild success despite only being shown in 933 theaters worldwide. Many people have responded with stories of healing and salvation on the backend of the compelling truth that was brought to them in their movie theater reclining chair.
What we’ve seen so far from this movie’s time in theaters is that this present darkness is real, tangible, and we must stand against it. As Paul wrote, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). The world that we live in is perverse, and we cannot allow forces like Nefarious to continue moving without calling them out and standing against them. There is a real battle going on in the spiritual realm, and “Nefarious” is a perfect conversation-starter to shed light on this reality.