The Sacrament was recently released on DVD/Blu-Ray and Horror News Network contributor, Lynn Sorel had a chance to watch the film. How will her thoughts on the film compare to HNN staff member, Sean Brickley when he reviewed the film? You can read Lynn’s review below.
The Sacrament – Review
By Lynn Sorel
Rating: 8 out of 10
Synopsis: Two journalists set out to document their friend’s journey to reunite with his estranged sister. They track her to an undisclosed location where they are welcomed into the remote world of “Eden Parish,” a self-sustained rural utopia composed of nearly two hundred members and overseen by a mysterious leader known only as “Father.” It quickly becomes evident to the newcomers that this paradise may not be as it seems. Eden Parish harbors a twisted secret. What started as just another documentary shoot soon becomes a fight for survival.
Our Thoughts: Starting with an invitation by their friend Patrick’s recently rehabbed sister, Caroline, Journalists Sam and Jake travel with their friend, to the commune of Eden Parish. Since the Parish was originally in the USA but had moved to an unknown location away from the world, the two plan to film and document life at Eden Parish from the inside. It’s clear from the start, and the previews for the film, that the commune they are going into is actually a cult. The story line is very reminiscent of Jonestown.
The film sets up pretty fast, as they fly down to Eden Parish where they are greeted by heavy security that included machine guns. Caroline assures them that it’s nothing of course. While Patrick goes to spend some time with his sister, Sam and Jake go interview some of the Parish members. Most people go out their way to avoid them, but the people they do speak with think the place is the greatest thing on earth. It turns out they sold everything they had before joining and gave their entire life savings to Father to create Eden Parish. “Red Flags” started going up for the guys after hearing that.
When they finally meet Father at the evening party, the members cheer and basically give him a standing ovation. He seems friendly, and is very charismatic. He portrays the place as a literal Eden on earth where he gives everything to his people. It’s easy to see how people could be brainwashed by him. The interview takes a turn when Father becomes creepily threatening towards Sam.
After the party is when things really get started. Things get weirder and weirder, as the action really picks up. It was more shocking than I expected, and it was filmed in such a way that it really draws you right in too. Even with feeling like I basically knew what was going to happen, I found it really had me in suspense and wondering how far things would go and what was going to happen. It uses the whole “found footage” aspect very well. There were also some scenes I found truly shocking and very well done.
Overall I felt The Sacrament was a predictable film, but I find myself really impressed with it. If you know anything about cults, you know what to expect. Despite this, it does a great job building suspense and keeping you interested. I felt all of the actors were very believable. Sam, played by AJ Bowen, and Jake, played by Joe Swanberg, are both actors who had played supporting roles in “You’re Next” and both had previously worked with Director/Writer Ti West. Gene Jones, known for “No Country for Old Men”, does an amazing job playing the hypnotic Father. If you like Ti West films, definitely watch this. As a fan of Ti West, I honestly think it is his best work to date!