Parish House

Parish House/ Parish War

African Nigerian Movie Review
Parish House ~ 2010
Some continuations repackaged as Parish War
Story/ Screenplay & Director – Ikenna Emma Aniekwe
Producer – Charles Offor, Solomon Apete

Starring:
Mercy Johnson – Christine
Van Vicker – Sylvester
Ken Erics Ugo – Bobby
Nkem Owoh – Hezekiah
Ify Onwochei – Cheta
Joyce Kalu – Mum
Amaechi Muonagor – Bishop
Rachel Okonkwo – Ifunanya
Uche Ebere – Monica
Ed Nnasor – Chief Ojike
Oby Somina Okafor – Benita
Chris Collins Oyekachi – Chijioke
Joe Ekenwe – Father Mike

Themes:
Hypocrisy of Religion
Priesthood
Rape

Nollywoodforever.com Rating – 75%

Synopsis:
Sylvester played by Van Vicker is facing opposition from his family after returning to Nigeria after leaving the seminary. He brings a new girlfriend Christine played by Mercy Johnson that he wants to marry to his family and they shun her. His mother in particular is very upset with his. We find out that he was excommunicated but the full extent of what transpired is not revealed until Christine’s cousin Cheta introduces her to her best friend Ifunanya. In Ifunanya’s story we find out exactly why Sylvester was excommunicated and why his mother is so filled with shame.

Hezekiah played by Nkem Owoh is a catechist in the parish and is super protective over his youngest daughter since his eldest daughter Ifunanya was raped by someone trusted in the community.
_____________

SPOILERS:

Priesthood
Although this movie was very comedic in parts thanks to the comic genius of Nkem Owoh and Ikenna Emma Aniekwe’s incredibly witty and well timed lines this movie did have a serious message too. I was glad that this movie shows priests are men too. People should not be elevated to some great untouchable superhuman status simply because of a title that they bear.

Hezekiah the catechist is not fooled by the priest’s robes and does not treat them as divine beings like others in the movie do. Perhaps he overreacts to his second daughter’s interaction with the priest but that it understandable. The movie served to raise awareness of abuse in the church, because so many people in African society are blinded where the words “god” or “church” are bandied about.

Parents should always be vigilant. Because someone wears a robe and walks with a bible does not mean they are inherently a good person and can be trusted. Regardless of clothing and title all people should be judged upon their actions and behaviours not on what they say or what is said about them.

The movie was balanced in that they didn’t just show the negative side of priesthood. To counteract Father Sylvester’s behaviour we are shown the benevolent selfless priest Father Mike that cares about his people and goes out of his way to donate his own money to people in his community who are in need.

The Hypocrisy and Power Of Religion
We see such revere for a man in the community despite his evil deeds. People do not blame the priest for his actions but others for bringing attention to his actions. We see cases like this very often in real life. People are brainwashed or don’t want to question how they had unreserved faith in someone that could do such a thing. Some men in the community approach Hezekiah to try and make him not take the matter involving the rape any further. One tells him,

“The man in question is an anointed man of God… you have to find another way to deal with this issue. I mean arresting a Reverend Father is an abomination and uncalled for.”

Hezekiah throws the man’s belief back at him,

“And what of a Reverend Father impregnating an innocent girl. What is that called? Can you define that for me?”

The man still does not waiver from his belief that a so called man of God is infallible,

“The bible says touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm.”

Arrrgh blind followers irk me so much!

Even Benita who is working with the police to bring Father Sylvester to justice is admonished by her mother for supposedly going against God. This is the power that some priests actually have! People will fight for them to the death even against their own family members. I was glad Benita stood up to her mother and told her with a firm fist to the chest,

“Mama as for the crying you are crying stop crying because I your daughter Benita will make sure they prosecute this guy.”

The woman even gets superstitious and goes as far as to say that to prosecute the Priest will be bad karma and mentions a previous incident that happened in the past to account for why her daughter is unmarried. It can be seen from these examples why many victims of abuse especiallywhere the abuser is well respected would keep the abuse to themselves rather than reporting it.

Classic Nollywood Moment
One thing that I never get tired of when watching Nigerian movies is when someone who has been aggrieved retreats into the house to get a cutlass to threaten someone, simply telling them to, “wait just there.” You always know what is going to happen next when someone is calmly told “wait there” but I still love it every time. There is one such scene in this movie. Sylvester’s mother and brother come to visit Hezekiah to beg for forgiveness and he runs into the house to get the cutlass to deal with them.

Nkem Owoh’s Comedic Lines
Nkem had too many funny lines in this movie. The hilarity was just rolling off his tongue. Let me just let you into a couple of the lines,

“He told me he’s a modern day priest. I never knew he is a modern dog – Alsatian.”

“I do not want anybody who has a hot manhood under his thighs to come near my compound again.”

“What so you want with this girl? You will become my roy, your roy or even Fela?”

I didn’t even get the “roy” bit but the part where he compared the priest who was sniffing around his second daughter to Fela just had me *dead*

A priest tells Hezekiah that Father Sylvester has been punished while trying to encourage forgiveness. Hezekiah exclaims,

“Without castration there is no punishment.”

Rape
Hezekiah says, “He raped my daughter and put her in the family way.” We also see the occasion where Ifunanya was sent to cook for Father Sylvester and see him forcing himself on her. It is clear she was RAPED. I was incensed that Father Mike (was that his name?) told her that she had to take responsibility for her part. WHAT PART? Ifunanya does’t even protest. It is like she resigns herself to the fact that to be raped was in part her fault.

Even more confusing was that Hezekiah was always sticking up for his daughter and attacking the priest for raping his daughter yet he too even says at one point, “Ifunanya it is not as if I am blaming you so much but am blaming you.” Hold up was it not Hezekiah that sent his daughter to go and cook for the priest. He should have blamed himself. That part was quite annoying because he had seemed so FOR his daughter and then to say that just really made me feel sad about the whole situation. It also did not fit in with his previous stanch support of his daughter to say that.

Cast Performances
Rachel Okonkwo
was excellent as Ifunanya. She is a very good actress and interpreted the role well. I’d love to see her again in a movie where she is a central character again rather than relegated to an extra role as she usually is. The scene where she told the story of her pregnancy to Christine was wholly convincing. I felt her tears and pain. This is the type of up and coming actresses that we should be celebrating and supporting.

Nkem Owoh as Hezekiah the catechist was excellent casting. He really carried the movie and without him it would have been nowhere near as good. It has been a while since I saw him in shine in a movie like this.

Mercy Johnson was a bad ass, as usual. No more really needs to be said.

Nollywood Forever Says WHAT?
I tire for Sylvester ooo! Your mother has just got over the shock that you have been thrown out of the seminary and then you want to bring badass Mercy Johnson with curves for days bursting out of her barely there frocks home to her as a possible wife. Are you crazy? All I can say is OLODO.

How does one parish get all the hot priests? Like really? Hot and young? CHEI!
_____________

Conclusion:
I would definitely recommend this movie
as it was really enjoyable to watch. It had a serious message about the pitfalls of blind faith but it was not all heavy because there was a lot of comedy included. Ikenna Emma Aniekwe did a great job to have written and directed the movie. My only gripe would be the length of the movie, I felt it could have been cut down without losing any of the message and the fact that Hezekiah did not remain steadfast in his support of his daughter. Overall THUMBS UP. GRAB YA COPY NOW!

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Comments

  1. tammy says:

    Nolly, this is the first movie van vicker has done that i actually believe he is an actor. i loved him in this movie (for the first time ever) i just love how he calls himself father Sly. Nkem owpoh as usual was funny, i liked the movie. the daughter was good a good actress, nice movie.

    how ever i wont advice any oe to watch part 3 and 4, they were absolutely boring to me and made no sense. i was bored. so i just kept skipping the scenes.

    i really like when fr sly called ify "obelenwa". LMAO

    • tammy says:

      oops, nolly i think there is a slight mix up. Parish house is the part 1 and 2, while 3 and 4 is parish war.

      Parish house starts from the village, when we see the genesis of the story, how van started out as a priest in the village and started dating ify, and how he travelled.

      im confused now, cos i found the pt 3 and 4 really boring, which is parish war( whch u have reviewed) my previous post refers to Pt 1 and 2. it would help if these nollywood pple gave movies the same titles and not expect us to figure it out!

      • Nollywood says:

        Hey Adwoa… I watched parish House parts 1-4. It looks like in some cases the whole movie is called Parish House and in others the 3 and 4 is called Parish War. I really enjoyed the movie but I felt that towards the end it started to drag a little. It would have been much better if they kept it compact. Nothing would have been lost in my opinion.

        Mine started with Van coming back from abroad and trying to introduce Mercy to his mother, gradually the story unravelled when cheta introduces mercy to Ifunanya…I am confused because it sounds like you are saying Parish War is parish House chimoooooo!

        Van was much better than usual in this movie although I wouldn't go so far as to exclaim greatness lol

        • tammy says:

          nolly, its tammy not adwoa,lool. these our mpollywood people are funny oh. mine started in the village, the catechist is leaving and tells nkem a new one is coming. ify is crying cos the previous catechist promised to pay for her jamb. the new catechist is van who calls himself father sly(short for fr sylvester). the part one and two are basically set in the village,its really nice. the story develops with ify blaming her pregnancy on the fathers houseboy, and also how van tries to escape abroad. its confusing oh, my sister i dont understand how they packaged and sold the movie self, i tire for the matter,lol

          • Nollywood says:

            Why did I even say Adwoa??? Lol I don't even know… Forgive me I'm replying from my phone… That's my excuse. It was a very enjoyable movie but not quite 100 percent for me. The ratings are however only one persons opinion MINE so u just have to gauge whether the movie appeals to you or not.

            Anyway the main thing is we all saw all parts of it whatever order it was in!

  2. Diva says:

    this movie is amazing!def a must watch,well scripted,Nkem owoh, the ifunanya girl and van vicker did an amazing job! very emotional movie too! has a lot of values and lessons to be learnt. i would give it 5 stars!

    • OA says:

      Totally agree with you. See NF, we are gaining in mumber now!

      • Nollywood says:

        Sorry y'all I was messing up all my replies because I was doing it from my phone. Now my one eye can see again. As for you OA, even if one million of you come and say the same thing… How does it con-sign me? LOL

  3. OA says:

    NF,

    You finally watched it even though it looks like you did not watch it from the beginning.

    I absolutely loved this movie and I have given it to all my non-nigerian friends and they also loved it too.

    Van Vicker was really good in this movie but the absolute winners remaim Nkem and Mercy. My word! I do have to commend Amaechi and Rachel as well. To be honest, practically everyone played their part to a T.

    The research into the rituals of the church was well done, the futility of parents trying to force children into fulfulling their (parent's) vision is also well explored. Imagine Sly's mum begging the vicar general to allow him back into the priesthood despite the enormity of his deeds!

    I laughed so much at Nkem's lines that I was breathless. The Fela line was classic!

    I'm not sure I get why @tammy does not like the final parts, I thought they were a good finish to the story. Although, I would not necessarily have advised that Van's character marry Rachel's as I felt his character flaw was way to deep that it would make for a difficult marriage to say the least.

    Anyway, I would have given the movie a higher rating not because of any technical excellence but the well researched, excellent acting and coherent story line that it presented.

    And seriously, you need to move it to the "definitely, must watch category" please. This is an absolute must watch.

    • Nollywood says:

      Hey I watched all the village parts… It looks like it was in a different order to you guys.. I did think that it started to drag and didn't need to be so long.

      Oooh I forgot to mention the whole thing about Ifunanya marrying her rapist… When you watch the movies you would almost think that this is the done thing to do in Africa if u want a wife, just go and rape some chick and then that is your way to securing a woman.

      The Fela line was one of my favourites I couldn't stop laughing but what was the roy thing he was saying beforehand? I didn't get that bit.

      The way movies get put in categories is strictly according to score. If you click the category each section is explained, so while the difference between a movie that gets 75 to a movie that gets 76 is minimal they will be placed in seperate categories!

  4. OA says:

    The roy thing.

    He said, "look at him, looking like El Roy, Leroy or even Fela with this moustache you are sporting like a he-goat"

    I think Leroy is some musician but trust Nkem to embellish a little (lol).

    Oh well then, if you just must leave it under the "OK movie" category (sigh!), I guess we will just have to wait for each of your blog followers to discover the joy of watching this movie themselves (Ok I'm grovelling now!!!)

    But thanks for reviewing it all thesame. Just glad i found your website.

    • Nollywood says:

      Hey OA!

      Just reading your comment now has my in hysterics. I totally get it now he is just calling roy because those Delroy and Leroy names are always put alongside bad boys, looool.

      As for people that read I have recommended it so if they don't want to take recommendation that is their own now!

  5. flint says:

    is it me or is this ikenna emma aniekwe becoming the next tchidi chikere,the way he writes and directes his movies are similar to that of tchidi chikere,his movies makes u think and go emotional just like tchidid chikere's movies,i think ikenna emma anikwe is one of the next big thing in nollywood,haven said that,i think the movie was really good,and i understand it getting a 75 rating,it should have gotten a higher rating had he done it in one part which will give him room for better production values and better constructive screenplay,but anyway i still consider him as an emerging film maker who will one day explode like the likes of tchidi chikere,emem isong etc.

    • Nollywood says:

      I must say I don't know enough of Ikenna Emma Aniekwe's work like I do Tchidi's to say so. I really liked Act of Faith but then Royal Tears and Palace Maid were more miss than hit. Cry For Justice was good, so from this we can say that when he stays away from royal Storylines he is on the money!

      I agree with you if the movie was shorter it would have got a higher rating. Making a movie unecessarily long will only lose points.

      • OA says:

        I get your point on the length of this movie. But there are some stories that cannot be appropriately condensed because there's so much going on that will detract from the story if edited. An example will be Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I believe the best adaptation of that book remains the BBC version (by Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle). It also is the longest film (mini-series)that could possibly interprete the excellent book.

        I agree that there a few scenes that could have been edited e.g. the tongue twisting scene between Mercy and Nkem but I wouldn't have thought there were those irritating Jackie Appiah brushing her hair for five minutes scenes (probably exaggerating a little bit, but you get the picture) or Emem Isong's movies with interminable dance scenes (with talentless dancers no less!).

        On another point, regarding the blame apportioned to Ifunanya, at first, my reaction mirrored yours exactly but upon retrospection, I could see there was some nuance to it. She never told anyone about the incident. A girl raped albeit innocent should have absolutely nothing to do with her rapist even if she can't tell anyone due to embarassment/stigma. As a matter of fact she seemed to have carried on with the relatonship as evidenced by her familiarity with the priest. I agree that Hezekiah was complicit in the fate that befell his daughter but you may also want to extend that to a country that cannot enable a hardworking parent cater to his daughter's basic needs. The priest used the situation of Hezekiah's inabilty to pay his daughter's exam fee as an opportunity to perpetrate his heinous crime.

        OK, I better stop now. I could probably write a seminal paper on this movie (lol).

        • Nollywood says:

          Hi!
          I too get your point, but at the same time I believe that this movie could have been condensed a bit more and retained its effectiveness.

          With regards to the rape. Look what happened when she did tell? People would have blamed her whether she saw him again or not. I don't know if you have noticed but in African movies, look how often girls are married to their rapists. Even when the man is an armed robber who has broke into the house and raped the daughter at some point they will try and marry off the girl to the armed robber.

          In that sense I can understand why she still saw the priest. It is a tight knit community where she will not be able to avoid him, and the way she is probably looking at it is what is done is done. She has lost her virginity, she is impure so she may as well stick to the man that has made her impure. I believe that it is this way of thinking that these abominable rapists prey on. Look at the shame of this fool even coming back to claim child?

  6. Max Schmidt says:

    Tho I have yet to see this Movie, from reading everyone's review I must say that I can't wait to see it….however like the most of the comments there seem to be one issue and that is the the change of title on this movie…

    I too have a serious issue with it and if one can understand the method to their madness as to why they do it then we can probably be way more supportive however there is no rhyme or reason….

    How am I to know that Parish House is Parish War..thanks to you and the other viewers I now know what to look for…I love Nkem this man has a serious gift and I am simply in love with his ability to make me laugh no matter how great or not so great the story line is…Will get this movie ASAP

    • Nollywood says:

      Max if you love Nkem Owoh you will be sure to love this. Have you also seen Osuofia in London? that is a must watch if you are lucky enough to find it anywhere. anyway be sure to holla back when you have watched!

  7. Pris says:

    Watched this movie this weekend and Nkem Oweh had me in stitches…..I kept rewinding because some of the lines were so funny. Of course, I love watching Van Vicker so I am bias as it relates to his acting (eye candy)…Great review.

    • Nollywood says:

      There is no doubt that Van Vicker is gorgeous physically. I too like you was in denial about his acting for a looong time, so I understand LOL However he wasn't bad in this one. This and a movie called Dangerous gamble are among his better performances.

  8. Ikenna Aniekwe says:

    My greatest asset in life is my desire for improvement. Thanks everybody for commenting,I'l sure take both the sentiments and facts of your comments into serious consideration. Coming to the part about tittle mixups and lengths of our films,those actually are the aspects you cannot unilaterally influence or change as a frelance writter/director,giving the tenets of the film-making practice down here.Once more,thank you everyone for your comments,observations,eulogies and some time,very devastating criticims. Nolly. . .keep it constructive most times.

    • OA says:

      Ikenna

      Really nice of you to comment and take on board the reactions of viewers to your art. I understand perfectly the great constraints truly artistic people are up against in Nigeria but you must appreciate that most of the people commenting here live in the diaspora and have limited access to obtainig movies which is why I sought out NF's blog to steer me to the right type of movies to buy/watch (so as not to waste my time).

      That being said, you would have to agree that NF has been pretty constructive in her critcisms and has some very valid concerns.

      What people like NF and I hope for, is that Nigerian movies will be able to compete anywhere in the world. And that implies that you must be able to bring your production to world class level. Your story telling abilities is just remarkable and the casting in this movie is in my opinion excellent. But can you imagine any serious movie critic in Cannes sitting through so may parts of one movie no matter how engaging that movie is? Which is the main crux of NF's criticism.

      Now, be that as it may, I still have to say that I am extremely proud of your efforts and hopefully, with these sort of discussions, we would be able to in time compel the people that make the decisions on the practical side of movie making that less is more and quality and artistic integrity must not be sacrified for the expediency of money making.

    • Nollywood says:

      Thanks for coming by Ikenna,I appreciate you taking time to leave a comment.

      As always any criticisms are not personal and I am happy when people can take something away from a review that is a bonus! The primary reason for the existence of this blog is to help people who were like myself when I first started watching, clueless as what to watch.

  9. aegoli says:

    i hv 2 watch dis movie. this is d 1st movie in a longtime that nolly is giving > 68%. will definitely return after i hv seen this. Cheers!

  10. aegoli says:

    OMG i just watched dis movie…it was really long, but i enjoyed every single bit. Not only was it a comedy thanks 2 osuofia n his household, it also touched several aspects of everyday life. The case of van viker is one that still happens 2day, n 2wrds the end of d movie, we come 2 realize that he may have been helpless, even tho that doesn't justify his acts. The only spoiler 4 me was mercy johnson n her boob show. All d blouses she wore had half of her boobs falling out. I found that a little bit inappropriate in d context of d movie. I hp she tones it down nxt time. Such costumes hav a place n time, n i felt hers was d wrong place.

    • Nollywood says:

      Thanks for coming back with your feedback Aegoli. hmm I don't agree about him being helpless, he was a predator. If he didn't want to join priest hood he had a mouth to say no. They did not throw him there when he was 10! I guess you are right there was not really any need for Mercy's over tight clothes, perhaps they were tryong to show that this is what happens to children who are westernised. That is a common theme in Nollywood after all.

  11. 9javatar says:

    Parish House and Parish was is an extremely compeling and well written script and from the onset when you see Van cast as Fada Sly you something's up. Nkem Owoh is brilliant as usual and so is the girl.

    Parish War is not as scintilating as the first part and in the scene where Mercy Johnson is wearing the pink jumpsuit her breast jumped out and hit me straight in the eye leaving me with a black eye for days as an established actress she doesn't have to dress so provocatively it's embarassing to womankind!

  12. Iman says:

    I enjoyed the movie even though it is very long! In the end, all parties were to blame- the father for sending his daughter to do things for the priest, the daughter for not reporting the abuse to her parents (or at least her mother) and my goodness, father slyvester's hypocrisy was breathtaking!

  13. gigichiny says:

    Haba Nolly. IMO this movie should be a "Watch? Most Definitely" and not "Watch? Yes, an OK movie". :)

    The dialogue was very good. Ikenna Aniekwe really needs to be commended for that. And 90% of the actors delivered. Even the actors that had minor parts (like the boy that played Ifunanya's brother to the guy that played Theodore)did very well. Even Van stepped up his game a little bit.

    Nolly, please, Please revise your rating. With a "Watch? Yes, an OK movie" designation, it means Parish House is more or less in the same league as Blackberry Babes (that's sacrilege!!). LoL

    I love this movie because it reminds me that Nkem Owoh is just as much a talented dramatic actor as he is a comedic one.

    BTW, have I told you how much I love Nollywood Forever's new look? LoL…I really love it.

    GigiChiny

    • Nollywood says:

      Thanks my dear!

      I already explained the rating system. You have to look at the rating and not just the category. 75 percent cannot go into the next category. It needs 76. I would have definitely given it even 80 if it weren't so long. That took away from the movie IMO

  14. ine1 says:

    Loved the movie. Great story line. It was just too long. In part 2 alone there were so many scenes were it was just the priest(s) Hezekiah, etc… just sitting down discussing the rape situation. It became too much of an overkill. I hated the fact that they agree for Sly to marry Ifunanya. Maybe it a cultural thing. Are single women with children less likely to marry? If so maybe that why that was encouraged. It was just disheartening. I wish Sly had nothing to do with Ify or her child, he raped her. (duh!) Overall I enjoyed it b/c it was different storyline and despite dealing w/ church issue it wasn't too churchy.

    • Nollywood says:

      Yep I totally agree with everything that you have said. I particularly hated the rape leading to marriage angle but I think that that really does happen in some societies.

  15. Edirin says:

    Rape in Nigeria is not usually treated with the seriousness it deserves. If that priest Father Sly (what an appropriate name!)had been in US for instance, he would have had his fine-boy-no-pimple face in jail before u can say SYLVESTER! These things happen evryday in our society-even some fathers rape their own daughters-its that bad. But in all, Aniekwe did a good job but the subject should hav been treated with more sensitivity becos rape leaves everlasting scars esp. psychological. Van Vicker is definitely getting beta. Mercy was in her usual girl-with-the killer curves mode. But she doesn't need to flaunt it in our faces all the time. We alredy know what her body looks like-she's like sex on wheels with the kind of body that can make a priest(not Father Sly though) regret his vows of celibacy. And by the way, what's with the fake accent Mercy had. It did't just gell at all. besides, these producers should realise that not all our people who have lived abroad even for many years speak with an accent. Some dey break pidgin pass us sef! Anyway kudos for a good job. Aniekwe definitly has similarities with Tchidi Chikere but I still prefer Tchidi's works anyday. They are usually classy, tight, thought-provocating.

    • Nollywood says:

      I agree with you on the point of Nigerians not treating rape seriously. The woman is the victim but is rarely ever treated as such and many times blame or at least some blame will be placed on her. Aniekwe still has to prove himself to get to tchidi levels but he is getting there for sure.

  16. Gigi Chiny says:

    Hi Nolly,

    I am testing the "comment posting" issue you mentioned. I hope the issue has been rectified and my comments gets posted.

    I re-watched this movie recently and noticed that the first priest we saw at the beginning (the one that left, leading to Vicker's character being transferred to the parish) was played by the director, Ikenna Emma Aniekwe.

  17. 9jaqueen says:

    Memorable Line: when his wife says, “Pastor sylvester is a man of god”. Hezekiah says, before.. am i a catechist of satan?” i don die

  18. DN says:

    I love the movie. But I must say, pastors also do so.

  19. Rev Fr Titus M Manjengwa says:

    please help i need the movies how do i get them

  20. Coco Rue says:

    i jus want to noe the eye catchin young father s name hu is not Van vicker overally good movie tho buh i want to noe naFather s name wo

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