Written and directed by Ti West (The House of The Devil, V/H/S, The ABC’s of Death) The Sacrament is bursting with tension from the get-go.
Set as a documentary for VICE, freelance photographer Patrick (Kentucker Audley- V/H/S) discovers that his sister has moved to a remote country and joined a mysterious commune. Deciding to try and find her, along with journalist Sam (A.J Bowen- You’re Next, The House Of The Devil) and Cameraman Jake (Joe Swanberg- V/H/S, You’re Next) they are dropped into the middle of nowhere on a helicopter, and herded onto a truck to be taken to Eden Parish.
They are greeted by Patrick’s sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz- You’re Next), a recovering addict with fresh-faced enthusiasm to her new surroundings. As Patrick catches up with his sister, Sam and Jake spend some time trying to get to know the residents. While many avoid being spoken to Sam manages to speak with a number of smiling parish members who are more than happy to discuss how Father’s (Gene Jones- No Country for Old Men) guidance has in fact given their lives meaning and hope.
Granted an interview, Sam and Father sit down for an interview in front of the entire congregation and the ensuing battle of words leaves an electric uneasiness hanging in the air. As a party ensues and the group sing and praise their lifestyle, the team start to believe the concept of their surrounds. But just as their guard comes down, Sam is handed a note. It’s a simple plea for help, and suddenly this heaven on earth becomes something else entirely.
I won’t give much else away as I hate to spoil movies, but I like that the members of Eden Parish aren’t the typical cloak wearing, masked cult members that have become expectant in movies like this. They’re completely normal people of all ages and all races in normal, everyday wear.
The performances are strong by all with Jones in particular standing apart from the crowd. He has a natural presence that effortlessly blends both comfort and threat together in a mesmerizing fashion.
While it may not be the bloodiest affair, The Sacrament has this awful sense of dread and foreboding from the start and I loved that. The finale wasn’t amazing for me but I do like it’s direction and I would recommend it for fans of cult movies and Mr West.
WICKED RATING: 6.5/10 [usr 6.5]
Title: The Sacrament
Director(s): Ti West
Writer(s): Ti West
Stars: Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Audley
Studio/ Production Co: Worldview Entertainment, Arcade Pictures
Budget: $4,000,000 (estimated)