Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Priest Movie Poster Image
Sci-fi vampire tale has weak characters, heavy violence.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie's futuristic world as a whole is so depressing that kids are unlikely to come away with much hope. However, the main character doesn't really exhibit much problematic behavior; he appears to be a loner, but he does successfully team up with others, and together they manage to solve a large problem. But he's forced to disobey his superiors to rescue a family member and to help save humanity. The movie also takes a dismal view of powerful organized religion.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is a priest and a vampire killer; while he's brave, resourceful, and responsible and works well with others, he's also very dour and depressed. He has trouble clinging to his faith, and he occasionally seems tempted by worldly pleasures, though he never succumbs.


Strong fantasy violence, with monster and vampire attacks, fighting, explosions, guns and shooting, knives and stabbing, plus other fantasy-type weapons. While the blood in most of the movie isn't overwhelming, an animated title sequence features extremely heavy gore. Plus, a vampire attacks a human and sucks his blood dry (he leaves the human with some white foam coming out of his mouth). And in another scene, a vampire seemingly pulls a man's heart out of his chest.


Some slight sexual innuendo. A teen girl returns from "town" with the top button of her dress undone. Other characters discreetly discuss possible sexual encounters that may have occurred in the past.


"F--k" is heard once; other language is also infrequent but includes "s--t," "goddamn," "son of a bitch," and "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this comic book-based sci-fi vampire story has strong fantasy violence, especially in the graphically gory animated title sequence; it also has monster attacks, fighting, and weapons. The movie crams together bits and pieces of vampire lore, bleak futuristic imagery, and Western elements, as well as a negative attitude toward too-powerful organized religion. There's some brief sexual innuendo and one use of "f--k," though language in general is infrequent.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bypvtplatypus January 20, 2012

Worse than Legion

Director Scott Stewart has managed to make a movie worse than his last film, Legion. Mr. Stewart is a special effects artist, not a director. Maybe he should st... Continue reading
Adult Written byDasGinatron November 6, 2011


This movie could have been much better. The ending was abrupt and horrible, and definitely left the audience wanting. I would not advise watching this movie wit... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAbe1998 September 16, 2012

Pretty good, but it should have been rated R.

This movie is about a Priest who becomes a vampire hunter. He was one a long time ago, but after the vampire war, everything changed. Him and others like him di... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byStevie111 July 24, 2012

Very Violent vampire action movie should have been R

Extremely violent with some blood. This movie was close in content to Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter, despite the rating difference. Not for kids

What's the story?

Many years ago, a man known only as Priest (Paul Bettany) and others like him fought a war against a race of faceless vampires. Now that war is over, and the priests are having a hard time fitting in ... until a new band of vampires attacks and kidnaps a member of the Priest's family. Along with the cowboy-like Hicks (Cam Gigandet) and one of his former colleagues (Maggie Q), Priest heads out into the wastelands beyond the dark, ruined cities to find clues. Unfortunately, it looks as though Priest's brutal past is about to catch up with him in the form of a new breed of vampire. Can he pull off the rescue and stop the new vampire attack?

Is it any good?

With PRIEST, former special effects man-turned-director Scott Stewart produces a movie much like his feature debut, Legion: It's great-looking but lifeless. The premise is an interesting combination of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, vampire lore, and the American West, and it cooks up dazzling landscapes and sets that deserve comparison to Blade Runner. But after that, the movie simply borrows ideas without much joy or enthusiasm.

The dour, depressing, wooden characters don't help much. Not even memorable cult actors like Brad Dourif, Steven Moyer (of TV's True Blood) or Madchen Amick (formerly of Twin Peaks) can help. Nobody appears to be having much fun. The scary moments are old hat, and the fight scenes are gray and choppy and don't generate much excitement. Fans of the comic book by Hyung Min-woo would probably do better to stick to the printed page.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. How did it affect you? Do you think all of it was necessary to the story? How does it compare to movies with more gore and blood? Which do you find scarier?

  • How does this movie compare to other vampire movies and TV shows? Why do you think vampires are so popular? Why do you think some are so much more violent than others?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scary movies

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate