A couple weeks back, students in my “Religion and American Popular Culture” read an essay I’ve published on representations of Mormon missionaries in film. Basically, I identified four trends in the films:
- Mormon missionaries provide a model for generic Christian evangelists (an association which should please Mormons, though I imagine evangelicals aren’t happy about it).
- Mormon missionaries represent a sectarian style of religion that is treated as annoying or humorous.
- Mormon missionaries figure in stories about sexual repression and liberation.
- Mormon missionaries serve, in sometimes complicated ways, as moral grounding or agents of transformation (though not in the sense of converting people to Mormonism).
Now someone has forwarded me the trailer to Missionary, a horror film that came out a couple of years ago but which had not yet registered on my radar. It looks like theme #3 is in play. Maybe #4 if the female protagonist discovers reserves of inner strength or learns not to endanger her family by having illicit sex, especially with a repressed young sectarian.