‘Nefarious’: Blaze TV host challenges everything you know about evil in thought-provoking new thriller

Every once in a while, a movie comes along that breaks so many conventions, and pushes so many boundaries, that its very presence on a screen sparks an entirely new sub-genre of film.

Nefarious, the long-awaited film adaptation of Blaze TV host Steve Deace’s eerily prescient novel, A Nefarious Plot, is one such flick, and with its theatrical release on April 14, the traditional “psychological thriller” will forever face the challenge of a new kind of horror.

Nefarious doesn’t try to trick you with an M. Night Shyamalan plot twist.

It invades you with honesty — patiently, methodically — and sets up shop in your mind, needling you with lingering, unsettling thoughts long after the lights come on.

No, this is more than a “psychological” thriller.

Nefarious is an intellectual thriller.

The longer it rattles around in your brain — and it will rattle around in your brain — the more bone-chilling it becomes.

Like the mind from which it sprang, Nefarious is unapologetic in its Christian worldview, and while audiences of all faiths — or none — will get the Holy crap scared out of them, its writers/directors and its Oscar-worthy star are uncompromising and fearless in their message, making this film a formidable foe to Hollywood norms.

As an actor, Sean Patrick Flanery never simply steps into a role. 

Whether he’s taking on the questionable morality of a lovable Irish assassin such as “Connor MacManus” in The Boondock Saints or the gentle, radiant persona of the enigmatic “Powder,” Flanery disappears in his parts, crafting with nuanced quirks and subtle mannerisms characters so fully developed it is almost as though he is… well… possessed by them.

As the movie’s namesake, Flanery floats effortlessly between the barely-harnessed, humanity-shaking force of a demonic entity and the raw vulnerability of “Edward,” the bought, broken, and soon-to-be banished body of the “meat puppet” Nefarious now “owns.”

As psychiatrist Dr. James Martin, actor Jordan Belfi is instantly recognizable as the upwardly mobile, stylishly smug, socially-groomed “authority” figure we all either know or have unwittingly become.

As the film unfolds, the good doctor soon learns his college-imbued swag won’t save him from the universal truths he has chosen to deny.

Even the most sincerely extended signals of virtue are stripped of valor when Nefarious holds up a mirror.

Fans of Steve Deace will flock to this film. Many feel invested in it, as they have been enthusiastically willing it into existence alongside Deace for years.

What will be more interesting to witness will be the reactions of those who have never heard of Steve Deace and would never watch The Blaze — average unsuspecting movie-goers who enter the theaters expecting The Exorcist and walk out questioning every life choice they have ever made.

And make no mistake, this movie will get reactions. It was written with purpose to provoke.

There are literal jaw-dropping moments where you just can’t believe they went there.

But Nefarious is more than that.

In the pronoun-permeated Culture War, it is the equivalent of a spiritually-guided tactical nuke — the first such salvo from the conservative right.

And that alone is worth the price of admission.



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Melissa Fine


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