Stephen doesn’t like to be picked on by bullies at school because of his Christian faith. When he complains about it to his father, his dad decides to tell him three stories of Christian martyrs in history, including the stoning of Stephen from the book of Acts. Thus, when Stephen falls asleep that night, he has three dreams about the three stories, in which he is also a character. Will his visions teach him how to not be afraid of the atheist bullies at his school???
Production Quality (1 point)
Though Voice of the Martrys has crafted quality productions in the past, Stephen’s Test of Faith is not one of these. This film contains somewhat cheap and limited sets, props, and locations, which doesn’t bode well for the historical parts. There is also some poor lighting throughout. Further, this production has some odd camera angles and slightly shaky camera work, although the video quality is fine. Audio quality is also fine, even though the editing is somewhat poor. Overall, the low quality of this production, combined with the shortness of its duration, makes its creation slightly unjustified.
Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)
This is combined with the fact that its premise is very unusual and almost insulting. Equating real martyrdom and persecution with getting made fun of by immature kids at school is very odd and off-putting. Did Voice of the Martyrs mean to tell kids they don’t have it as bad as people who are killed for their faith? That’s almost worse. Either way, it’s a mishandling of first-world problems. Besides this, the story of this film has a disorienting progression and sequencing, which is helped by its short time frame. Even so, the plot jumps from one thing to the next as it tries to cover far too much content in a small amount of time. It seems like it is unable to focus on any one thing, and this makes the characters too one-dimensional and swept along by the plot’s circumstances. Unfortunately, though Voice of the Martyrs might have meant well with this film, it’s a swing and a miss.
Acting Quality (1 point)
For the most part, this cast tends to be dominated by child actors that have an annoying delivery style. Other cast members tend to be too forceful and dramatic, while others are unsure of themselves. However, not all is bad in this cast as there are some good moments, yet this is not enough to save this film from itself.
With films like Bamboo in Winter, Behind the Sun, The Eastern Bride, and Closure, Voice of the Martyrs is usually able to capture the real struggles of persecuted Christians around the world, but trying to transpose these struggles onto the first world problems in modern America is just wrong. This may have not been intentional, but it came off that way in Stephen’s Test of Faith. We have to be careful not to demean the actual persecution Christians experience outside of the Western world by trying to make our minor issues into persecution.
Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points