Handclaps usher us into Writer/Director Dustin Pegg’s The Gatherer. Slow, rhythmic, and precise, they’re soon accompanied by a man’s voice, humming “No More, My Lord” in perfect sync. The music could be emanating from a revival tent or a small-town Baptist church, but instead, it’s cast from the mouth of Elijah Hayes, a man sitting handcuffed to the table in a local precinct’s interrogation room. A serial arsonist has been terrorizing the police, mailing photos of torched crime scenes to the local detective.
Pegg’s film is a work more interested in exploring human nature than “gotcha” twists and turns, so you may think you have the “answer” figured out long before the credits roll, but the real treat here is watching two men match wits in a winless battle. “I think this sort of evil has and always will exist,” Pegg said. “It’s a constant battle — the perversion of religion — and while it’s worth resisting and pushing back, it will always be there.”