The Sacrament is the latest offering from independent horror filmmaker Ti West and I’m pleased to report – it’s rather good. I’m pleased by this mainly due to the fact I thought the previous films he released were pretty poor (apparently he was responsible for that Cabin Fever 2 disgrace!). This film follows one of the (fictional) Christian communes in America in a Found Footage style…….
Yeah this film was much better than Ti West’s previous offerings – it had a little style and ‘guts’ about it. I wouldn’t really call it a Found Footage horror – more of a thriller really!
I liked the idea of a Found Footage film being set in one of these Christian communes in America because of the sinister exploits of some of them over the years. This had all the ingredients to be a fully enjoyable Found Footage experience and it didn’t disappoint!
A freelance photographer discovers that his sister has been enticed into one of these Christian communes in America. He has basically lost all contact with her and is desperate to figure out what has happened.
He decides to pay her a visit at this strange new location and sets off with a journalist and a cameraman (naturally!) to her new ‘home’. They arrive at a remote location and are met by the sister before being herded into a truck for the final part of their journey to Eden Parish.
The characters spend a lot of time at first exploring the Parish and you really get the ‘feel’ of it. As with a lot of Christian communes in America this parish seems to have it’s fair share of Amish-type rules and regulations.
The place seems happy and the children and residents seems to love the life they have set up for them. The three guys go round interviewing various members in an attempt to find more information on the illusive ‘Father’ of the community.
OK so the story line is not the most original but let’s be honest – not many of Ti West’s films are that original! About 12 months back I watched another of his efforts called ‘The Innkeepers’. Whilst being mildly interesting it was drastically lacking in originality and a little boring at best.
This film was different – sure when you find out the film is based on Christian communes in America you kinda get the idea what the plot is building to but it is done well! It’s the Found Footage style that really helps this film stand out from the other efforts – it gives it atmosphere and leaves you on edge.
The best actor in the film by a mile was Gene Jones who played the cult’s leader. Now I have not come across this guy before (as far as I can remember) but he has something original – he put in a top performance!
The most impressive scene in the film comes on the halfway point when the journalist friend and Father sit down to film an interview in front of the whole commune. It is clever and well thought out and Gene Jones (Father) steals the show – you start to see the cracks appearing in the whole commune setup.
This film was creepy – l have come across many a negative review online that seemed to have missed this point. Sure the idea of Christian communes in America is not exactly an original one (Red State for instance) but filming it in this fashion makes it stand out.
Due to the ‘spoiler alert’ system we have on this site I am reluctant to go any further on the plot of the film – you’ve probably already guessed what happens anyway! The film builds really well and is scattered with good actors – there was nothing amateur about it!
Using Christian communes in America as a plot is probably a bit of a risk due to past history on the subject (watch the news!). That being said Ti pulls no punches with this film – it is graphic and violent and a little shocking in places (big thumbs up!).
With a character as bold and unique as Gene Jones’s Father you have a great platform to build a memorable film – it works!
As I’ve pointed out before I think a lot of these online review sites are full of people that want to see constant streams of Hollywood classics full of A-list actors. These sort of people have no right reviewing horror movies and should really stick to reviews for teenage magazines!
This film is good, if you like Found Footage horror you will like this – period! It has the added bonus of having a solid group of actors who play their parts very well. It is interesting at the start and it builds well to it’s horrific ending – you will not be disappointed!
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