The Sacrament was really interesting. I am a big fan of House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. From film director Ti West. This double team of West and fear film extraordinaire, Eli Roth seemed too good to be true and perhaps it was. While The Sacrament is truly a tale of a terrible tragedy it fails to actually deliver.
Three film-makers from VICE document their attempt to free one of the members sisters from a strange religious cult. The cult is led by a manipulative con-artist that brainwashes his "family" they all call him Father. The cult consists of hundreds of people that have started a small community called Eden Parish. These reporters have a really strange experience.
Eli Roth had restored my faith in horror films when he created the Hostle series. I had viewed most modern horror movies as being too family friendly and handled with kids gloves. When I attended a screening of Hostle the crowd in the theater was erupting with emotion. It was a beautiful thing.
Obviously, I was not the only mind reshaped by Roth's vision of a return to quality horror. Ti West had come out of nowhere with The House of the Devil it was such an amazing sleeper hit and nailed it with the grittiness and rawness that we, as viewers, are expecting. His coy storytelling and dark sense of humor are also key staples in a Ti West picture. The Innkeepers showed that.
This movie doesn't show that at all. There are sprinkles of the gore mastery of Roth and dark humor of West. However, overall there isn't much going on. The movie feels like it was a watered down interpretation of Kevin Smith's Red State mixed with the story of the Jonestown Massacre. The camera is constantly moving away from the action just as things are about to happen. People are constantly dying off camera. It's infuriating. They cover it up by making this a quasi-found footage film.
I appreciate what the director and producer were going for. However, I don't think it came out the way that they wanted. The constant presence of titles on the screen are jarring and it really takes you out of the film. Instead of letting you make up your own mind about what was going on. The movie felt the need to tell you what was happening by printing it on the screen. My case in point is the "clean-up crew" scene.
This isn't a horrible film. This movie just feels like it needs a few tweaks. It wasn't obvious and it built a great deal of tension decently. I really enjoyed a few of the actors. However, they felt mostly very flat and bland.
It is worth checking out if you want to see a Jonestown Murder movie. In that way this movie is very accurate. If you are hoping for something scary that wont let you sleep at night then I would advise you to keep looking.
Did ya know...
Two retired members of the Harlem Globetrotters played background roles in this movie.
According to the film commentary, in the originally conceived ending, the helicopter pilot was not shot. Once the helicopter got to altitude, the pilot proclaimed "We must follow Father's orders" and crashed the helicopter, killing everyone on board. Eli Roth describes this movie as "Ti West's first mainstream film."