Saved

Anybody who grew up with Christianity as a mandate rather than a choice should get a kick out of the premise of Saved!, where high school students armed with the power of religion manage to create hell on Earth for fellow classmates and themselves. Directed by first-timer Brian Dannelly, this uneven film starts off as a satiric slam on religious hypocrisy, but it gets lost along the way to its ending, degenerating into more of a happy-go-lucky, everything’s-coming-up-roses scenario rather than the merciless slag of organized religion it first seems to be. It’s a shame, because Dannelly’s film shows much promise in the first half, so much so that the lack of punch in the film’s finale is quite the shocker, as if Dannelly (who also co-wrote the script) became afraid of his own film. Mandy Moore is good as a psycho Christian girl, as is Macaulay Culkin as her atheist brother.

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