Horror-A-Thon: The Sacrament (2013)

The Sacrament is the fourth film by writer/director Ti West. For those unfamiliar with his previous work, you may have seen his work and not realized it. He did the “Second Honeymoon” segment of V/H/S and has directed episodes of Wayward Pines as well. As far as his feature films go, The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers were both critically acclaimed and West is seen as one of several up and coming horror directors on the scene today.

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The Sacrament is a faux documentary that tells the story of a group of investigative reporters. A colleague has gotten an invitation from his sister who is living in a remote, clean living community that could possible be a cult. The story proves too irresistible and they tag along, uninvited, to record the visit and possibly get an interview with the leader of the community. As you can imagine, things spiral downhill quickly.

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If you are already familiar with the Jonestown Massacre of 1978 then you’re going to find a lot of similarities here. This was obviously West’s inspiration for the film. It makes the film all the more horrific because you know that the events that take place are steeped in truth. The real events were far more horrific but West does a good job of documenting what it may have been like at ground level of such a tragedy. The movie is a slow burn that builds the tension gradually until, like the characters in the film, you’re in too deep to escape.

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The film isn’t without its flaws but it’s a solid piece of film making that further shouts out the talent of Ti West as a horror director. It’s often categorized as “found footage” but I really don’t feel like it falls into that sub-genre at all. It’s a faux documentary, through and through, and if you’re into that kind of thing it’s a gem. For everyone else, it’s a chilling glimpse into a horrific event that has all but been forgotten these days.

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