‘Original Villain’ is an atmospheric, psychological horror. In 1979, Father Thewlis and his assistant Sylvester are summoned to an isolated house deep in the English countryside. Greeted by the owner of the house and the doctor that called them for assistance, mystery shrouds the true nature of their visit. Throughout their first evening we learn that there is an unknown patient residing upstairs and that the two Holy men are here to determine if it is necessary or not to perform an Exorcism. We follow Sylvester’s journey as an exorcist’s assistant who never enters the room of the patient, as he routinely performs his clerical duties, getting an insight into the room through a reel-to-reel tape recorder that Thewlis and the doctor use to record the sessions. As the days go by there are dark and subtle changes in the attitudes of the men, the residents of the house begin disappearing and Sylvester experiences vivid nightmares. What begin as hallucinations start to become more and more tangible, and a thick, heavy paranoia descends on the three outsiders. Fuelled by religious hysteria, Thewlis, Sylvester and the doctor start to lose their minds.
‘Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour…’ – 1 : Peter : 5 Our film is about the intangibility of the ultimate antagonist, the Devil. In the Bible, throughout all the various books and stories, the Devil is represented in many different forms: the fallen angel Lucifer, the ancient serpent, a roaring lion, the Great Deceiver. The one consistent description of the Devil is that of him being the first manifestation of Evil, rebelling against God and introducing Sin to the world. ‘Original Villain’ explores this conceptual nature of the Devil, presenting the debate between Satan as an ideological representation of the darkness of man, or a sentient and malicious entity. In the Book of Peter, the apostate gives instructions to the elders to protect God’s flock and beware the enemy. This millennia-old message takes on a profound relevancy in the 20th century, as a Priest and a Deacon have their faith and sanity tested by the abstract terror of the Original Villain.