In The Faith Community, Hannah, Andrew and Colin travel to a wooded area of Maryland for a bible study retreat they hope will bring them closer to God. Hannah and Andrew are well-versed in their studies while Colin comes across as more curious about religion than anything else. He serves as the photographer for the trio of students; documenting the trip for a video project. Upon arrival, they discover the retreat is not exactly what the brochure and website promised and something about the pastor seems just a little off.
Religious cult stories have a certain attractive quality to them because the plot always seems so plausible no matter how ridiculous, and The Faith Community is no exception. The story is ridiculous, creepy and plausible.
The characters are human and believable. Although on a bible retreat, Colin cannot seem to break away from swearing now and then. The film is very theatrical, showcasing the actors. There are two standout performances. Jeremy Harris is delightfully creepy as the over-the-top and possibly deranged pastor, and Janessa Floyd is very convincing as Hannah, a young, religious woman desperate to make the retreat a success.
The found footage angle is done well. The occasional lack of focus and camera settings give an amateur feel. The camera is not violently shaking, making the scenes easy to watch. A few scenes even provide explanation as to why the camera is rolling at a time when it really might not be appropriate to be filming.
The weakness in The Faith Community is not in the story but in its development. The film understandably takes a while to get going as the weirdness builds, but it needs a little more backstory on how and why some key events unfold. That lack of explanation ultimately makes the final product a little unsatisfying.
The Faith Community has a very original story with some creepy content but leaves us with little faith.