“They will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all . . . ” (Mark 16:18). A forbidden relationship between Mara (Alice Englert), a pastor’s daughter, and Augie (Thomas Mann), another churchgoer, sets off a chain of disastrous events in this thriller. It’s a typical star-crossed love story but set in a tight-knit snake-handling congregation. In this Appalachian Mountain community, the church conducts business secretly because snake handling is illegal—you can guess why. Mara is a firm believer, but her betrothal to another local boy pits her faith against her heart. Meanwhile, Augie—the doubting Thomas—isn’t convinced, despite pressure from his religious mother (played by the always dynamic Olivia Colman). The movie wins points for sheer shock: viewers might not have ever seen this religious practice up close. However, in their directorial debut, Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage fail to show the church in a neutral light, choosing instead to lean into a “crazy cult” caricature rather than evenly portray what is already a complex, divisive religious custom.