Official Selection: Fantasia International Film Festival 2021 – Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival 2021 – Grimmfest 2021 – Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2022
The feature directing debut for acclaimed actor, writer, and director Mark O’Brien (61st Street/AMC, Marriage Story, Ready or Not) THE RIGHTEOUS had its World Premiere at last year’s Fantasia International Film Festival where it won the Cheval Noir Award for Best Screenplay, the film has since screened at the Blood in the Snow Festival, Grimmfest (Winner – Best Screenplay & Best Cinematography), the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the Calgary Underground Film Festival, and was nominated for several Canadian Screen and Directors Guild of Canada awards.
O’Brien stars in the film alongside his Ready Or Not co-star Henry Czerny (Mission Impossible 7 & 8) acclaimed actress Mimi Kuzyk (All My Puny Sorrows, Workin’ Moms), Kate Corbett (Coroner, Black Conflux), and Mayko Nguyen (Hudson & Rex, Killjoys). A simmering psychological thriller, in THE RIGHTEOUS a burdened man feels the wrath of a vengeful God after he and his wife are visited by a mysterious stranger.
Frederic Mason (Czerny) was a priest for most of his life. Now in his 60s, he has left the faith and moved to the country to start a family with his new wife (Kuzyk). Frederic, however, is mired in his troubled past and a secret he cannot exhume himself of. A mysterious young man (O’Brien) needing help soon appears, and he slowly reveals his true identity and what this means for Frederic and his complicated relationship with a vengeful God.
“I wanted to make a film about confrontation,” comments O’Brien. “As I get older, the idea of confrontation has become increasingly relevant. At a certain point, one is unable to move forward without confronting certain things about themselves and the world around them and there is something archetypical about a religious person coming to terms with their relationship with God. I guess for me, I couldn’t continue as a filmmaker until I confronted this story.”
Since the film’s premiere in the summer of 2021, it has amassed an impressive round-up of critical acclaim from indie film and genre media alike, garnering an 89% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has been called an “intriguing, offbeat chiller” (Screen Daily), “a movie that finds chaos in silence” (RogerEbert.com), TILT Magazine commented, “Shrouded in mystery and a glint of the supernatural, O’Brien manages to leave behind both a visually striking film and an acting showcase for everyone involved”, and Bloody Disgusting commented that the film “creep(s) under the skin and nestle(s) in the mind.”
Written and Directed by: Mark O’Brien
Produced by: Mark O’Neill and Allison White
Cast: Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Mimi Kuzyk