REVIEWS: Docs / Other films — November 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm

REVIEW: Night of the Templar (2012)

Some 700 years ago from our present times, a knight named Lord Gregoire (Paul Sampson) gets betrayed by some of his own men, and claims to return centuries later to seek revenge on the descendants of those betrayers.

In present day, Jake McCallister (Paul Sampson, again) arrives in an old European Castle, where he will be the host to a number of people invited for a weekend party.

The group consists of quite different, colorful people, and aside from them, there’s also a cross-dressing cook Shauna (Billy Drago ?!), a butler (Max Perlich), a shopkeeper (late David Carradine), and priest father Paul (Udo Kier).

And all of these characters will enroll into a circle of murders, as the ancient knight is resurrected to exact revenge on the descendants of those, who killed him 700 years ago.

“Night of the Templar” would have been a total bore, however thanks to Paul Sampson, who seem to have put his soul into this first directorial effort of his, the film is quite amusing in parts.

First of all, Sampson, with a bodybuilder-like physique has an unbelievably unsuitable haircut, and in one scene where he stands bare chested, in underwear, he nearly kisses with cross-dressing Billy Drago. That scene alone would be enough for a few “WTF’s”.

Speaking of Billy Drago, it is unclear why he decided to take the part of a cross-dressing cook in the film, yet he handles his part well, and he eventually kisses with a butler, played by Max Perlich. Another WTF here.

“Night of the Templar” has enough of beautiful girls as well, yet they’re not given much material to work with, as Sampson mostly concentrates the screen time on himself and David Carradine.

The film at times looks like pieces glued together, mostly because, as Sampson admitted it himself, the film had three different film crews. The story could have used a bit more polishing as well.

Sampson himself has said that “Night of the Templar” was his most “complex” story of all that he had. Speaking of complexity, the “medieval genre” is not considered a very bankable one today, so it is possible Sampson would have done better with a less ambitious indie horror flick, for example.

In one of his interviews, he said that some of the medieval costumes and weaponry had to be made especially for the film, and that the actual shooting of “Night of the Templar” spanned over a 2 year time period.

While Sampson gets credit for making an independent film with a very good cast (David Carradine, Norman Reedus, Billy Drago, Udo Kier, and a couple of female eye-candies), the finished product leaves an impression that this particular story was obviously not the best choice for uniting all the above mentioned people.

With unpolished story, bad fights, a couple of amusing scenes, and “Night of the Templar” becomes just another forgettable independent film with some familiar faces.

Since this is Paul Sampson’s first directorial effort, we will cut him some slack, and hope his next film will not have any of that medieval stuff. Much safer to go with either horror or action. Or both…


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  1. I think you got it wrong, this is DEFINITELY not a 4 of 10. Yes, there are some ‘amusing’ scenes as you put it, but it is DEFINITELY NOT another forgettable indie flick. The movie is very original. VERY ORIGINAL. Found the medieval acting quite good. I originally watched the movie in hopes of ANOTHER medieval movie, but found it quite enjoyable and inspirational that someone had the guts to make something different and entertaining.

    I’m pleased he didn’t fall into the rut of making the same types of movies as anyone else. Have to ask, do you really think the plot was unpolished? Found it very ‘polished’, as in there were no holes. Watched it alone for a medieval movie, which by the way is bankable, and although at first disappointed it wasn’t a full medieval movie was overwhelmed how much I was taken in by the strangeness of the piece. Watched it a second time with my wife who thought the world of it. I would have given it a 8 or 10, but a 4 is unbearably low. I can see if you wanted to see a medieval only film and viewed this and were disappointed because it wasn’t just a period piece, but from the read of your review, it seems you didn’t. It’s very well laid out, hopefully the filmmaker and other indie and creative filmmakers won’t pay mind to your comments and advice.

  2. Well, every viewer has to have a personal opinion on the film. Like the review says, Sampson gets the credit for making an independent film – which was quite difficult in this particular case, as he noted it himself. The point is that everyone has his/her own taste. Mixing genres of course works in many cases, and it almost did in this one, but not quite. As for “4/10” score – that’s just a personal assessment of the film. It’s nice to know some people rank the film as high as 8/10 – should be very inspiring for indie filmmakers. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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