I was hesitant to watch the 2003 film The Order because it looked like it was going to be some lame religious horror thriller. I much prefer the film’s other title: The Sin Eater!
Heath Ledger plays a priest from a rather unorthodox order. He’s basically blackmailed by Robocop (aka: Peter Weller) to go to Rome to investigate the mysterious death of the head of his scandalous order.
Heath is one priest I can get behind. That’s not what I mean. Yeah, he’s cute. But he’s also a sort of demon hunter! And he brings along this artist chick he once performed an exorcism on, and his bearded bear priest buddy (played by Mark Addy—Jamie Gertz’s chubby hubby on the TV show Still Standing). My kind of people.
While The Order deals with religious themes, there’s something almost Constantine-ish about it at times. It’s a little more exciting than heavy-handed religious horror, and the bear priest injects some humor. Plus, Heath breaks like every Godly rule in the good book!
Turns out there’s this thing called a “Sin Eater.” The Sin Eater totally bucks the system long and hard, eating a dying person’s sins at the last second so he or she can go to heaven all pure and shit. Doesn’t seem like such a bad guy to me. Oh. And the Sin Eater looks like this….
Oh, Sin Eater. I’ve been a bad, bad boy and need that sinful part of me eaten big time.
The Order walks a fine line between taking itself seriously and just letting go and being a fun and scary horror movie. I wish it had leaned a bit more on the fun side. As it goes, Heath makes little demon children in a cemetery burst into a flock of birds, the bear priest is attacked by a ghost that is essentially wielding a nail gun, and we get to see the Sin Eater in action, swallowing some pretty heinous sins.
But in the end, there’s just a little too much heaven and not enough hell in this horror flick for my tastes. Even so. Don’t these two make a cute couple?