King Knight – Toronto After Dark 2021


King Knight – Toronto After Dark 2021

The High Priest of a modern-day coven finds his life thrown into turmoil and ventures out on a journey of self-discovery.

This Review Originally Published As Part of Our Coverage of Fantasia 2021

The life of the high priest of a coven is thrown into turmoil when his past catches up with him in . Thorn () is the leader of a coven of witches along with his life partner Willow (). Thorn's non-conformist, pagan lifestyle is thrown into chaos when Willow finds an e-mail inviting Thorn to his 20-year high school reunion and that he was once class president, prom king, and voted most likely to succeed. With the rest of the coven not taking this news too fondly, Thorn ventures on a walkabout, guiding by a vision of the wizard Merlin ().

King Knight is a dark comedy by writer/director Richard Bates Jr. (Suburban Gothic, Trash Fire) about a leader of a coven of witches, who experiences a personal identity crisis. The film stars Matthew Gray Gubler, a regular in Richard Bates Jr.'s films, as Thorn, a man who gives relationship advice to the members of his coven when he is not trying to sell birdbaths online. One day, Thorn's life partner Willow, played by Westworld's Angela Sarafyan, discovers that Thorn was not only popular in high school but that his estranged mother Ruth () is still alive. While Willow begrudgingly accepts Thorn's past, he is banished by the rest of the coven for not being honest to them, leading to a soul-searching journey.

The films of Richard Bates Jr. can be an acquired taste and King Knight is no exception. While there are some elements of the film that stick out, such as a zany appearance by Ray Wise as Merlin the Wizard and a trippy animated sequence, King Knight is an otherwise so-so tale of self-identity. Then again, what other films would you see that features voicing a talking pinecone?

King Knight is streaming beginning on October 15th, 2021 as part of the virtual 2021 Toronto After Dark Film Festival

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.