God Is a Bullet has been one of my most anticipated movies of the summer ever since I first saw the trailer a bit over a month ago. It looked like an awesome and bloody revenge thriller with a cult twist, so I was sure it would be right up my alley. I jumped at the chance to review it, but after finally watching it, I’m sad to say that it’s pretty disappointing.
God Is a Bullet was written and directed by Nick Cassavetes, and it stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maika Monroe, Jamie Foxx, January Jones, Ethan Suplee, Paul Johansson, and Jonathan Tucker. The film is based on Boston Teran’s best-selling novel of the same name, and it’s about a police officer named Bob Hightower who one day learns that a satanic cult has murdered his ex-wife and kidnapped his daughter.
Naturally, the guy desperately wants to rescue his kid, so he enlists the help of Case Hardin, the only woman who’s ever escaped the cult. Together, they set out to find the group’s leader and bring the girl back, and as you can probably guess, bloody mayhem ensues.
Like I said, God Is a Bullet is pretty disappointing, but it’s not all bad. It has a couple of redeeming qualities, and in my opinion, the best of the bunch is the relationship between Bob and Case. As victims of this insidious cult (albeit in different ways), they’re both very sympathetic characters, and stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Maika Monroe do a great job of accentuating that quality in their performances.
They make you believe that these people have gone through some terrible ordeals, so I came to like Bob and Case very quickly. I wanted them to stay safe and succeed in their quest, and that gave the story a firm emotional foundation to build on. In fact, I’d even say that the best parts of this movie are when these two characters are just sitting and talking. They’re that good, so for the first half hour or so, I was really liking God Is a Bullet.
But soon after Case and Bob embark on their journey, the film begins to drag, and it feels more like a series of loosely connected events than a logical, coherent progression from one scene to the next. There are a bunch of times when the connective tissue between these events is really thin, so I was often left scratching my head and wondering if I had simply missed something. Other times, it feels like the story just meanders from one scene to another without really going anywhere, and those moments kill quite a bit of the movie’s momentum.
On top of that, I also had an issue with the villains in God Is a Bullet. They’re supposed to be a cult, but for the most part, they don’t really act like one. Instead, they seem more like a gang or an organized crime ring. To be fair, there is one scene where their true nature shines through pretty clearly, but it’s brief, and after that, the villains go back to acting like a gang.
In fact, if you edited the film and made this group a gang instead of a cult, the story would still be exactly the same. You’d just have to change that one scene, but everything else would fit seamlessly with the new premise. And as a huge fan of cult movies, I found that really disappointing. I wanted to see more of the satanic elements of this cult, but instead, we just got a more or less generic group of bad guys who do generic “bad guy” things.
Last but not least, I have to mention something about the two lead characters that bothered me a bit despite my positive feelings towards them overall. As God Is a Bullet goes on, their relationship slowly becomes romantic, and every time that element came to the fore, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.
Nothing about Bob and Case or their story makes me think they’d ever become romantically involved, so this is just another example of a movie needlessly shoehorning in a love story where it’s not needed. I really hate that trope, and I find it especially frustrating here in God Is a Bullet, where it mars an otherwise great relationship between these two characters.
To be fair, on its own, that’s more of a nitpick than anything else. In fact, a lot of films, even many I quite enjoy, have similarly cringy and forced romances, and most of the time, I can simply ignore them and focus on the things I like. But not in this movie. The ridiculous romance between Bob and Case is one of several noticeable weaknesses in God Is a Bullet, so it feels like it just adds to the pile of reasons to dislike the film.
It’s the cherry on top of this disappointing viewing experience, so I’m sad to say that I wouldn’t recommend God Is a Bullet. While I quite enjoyed the two lead characters, they’re not enough to save the movie. The disjointed story, mediocre villains, and cringy romance kept me from walking out with a smile on my face, so if you’re looking for some good new horror to watch, I suggest you look elsewhere.
God Is a Bullet is set to debut in theaters on June 23, and then it’ll get a digital release on July 11.