“The Sacrament reminds us to pass on the on Kool Aid”
If you are a child born in this country in the 80’s or 90’s then you should be vaguely familiar with people like David Koresh and what happened to his followers in Waco Texas. How so many minds can be manipulated by one is one of the greatest mysteries to this date as we have witnessed the evil minds of figures such as Hitler and Manson. How they were able to seduce the minds of the ignorant is not too far fetched when we see what marketing and advertisements have done to our way of life. What of those wanting an escape? A release from the putrid existence of the materialistic; capitalist filled world we live in today? Is that what we should seek? To alienate ourselves from those who hold the item you maybe reading this review on so dear? In Ti West’s The Sacrament, this is the dialogue that may exist in your head upon watching this disturbing piece of cinema. When a group of provocative broadcast journalism reporters help a friend to find his missing sister they come upon a way of life that may not be as secure as originally perceived.
Ti does a great job with The Sacrament in regards to create an unsettling tone that is felt the minute they arrive at the commune. What sticks out immediately is the lavish approach by the filmmaker to give you one glimpse into the life he has created, and as the story takes a turn for the worse so does the setting. The initial setup has the watcher feeling as if they too should abandon all they have and join up with the ranks of these few. Knowing that this film is a thriller brings uneasy tension as you are waiting for the mood of The Sacrament to change which happens as soon as they meet “Father”.
We were hoping that the character of Father would have been a little bit more brash; a little bit more insidious. Not that he was not, but at times it felt as if Father was just another part of the flock instead of being it’s ultimate benefactor. He brings the wit and charm of Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy as opposed to the leaders of the ill fated mentioned before. Still it’s hard to deny how a person of his stature can captivate you. Almost as if you were with your grandfather sitting on the porch listening to war stories.
The real fear and genius of The Sacrament is that we as humans with our free minds can still succumn to the pressures of life. That is a scary notion that West exploits tremendously. This film has tons of appeal to many audiences and is powerful enough to remind us of films like Children of The Corn. Referring back to the setting argument stated early there is true significance in seeing something that starts off so beautiful end so tragically bad.
The cast of AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg bring a true sympathy to their roles as they themselves become wrapped up in the mojo of Eden Parish. The Sacrament is not a ground breaking film by any means , nor one of West best. What it does show is how he has matured into a definitive filmmaker and shows that he has range most young directors may never achieve. We all know Ti West can produce the gore, the scares, and body count, but with The Sacrament he has also proven that frightens the subconscious. Don’t pass up on The Sacrament which is an engaging display of terror from a future master of horror.
The Sacrament is now on demand and playing in limited theaters across the country. It is directed by Ti West and stars Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, AJ Bowen, Kate Lyn Sheil, Gene Jones and Kentucker Audley. The Sacrament is being released courtesy of Magnet Releasing. For more information visit the official website: http://magnetreleasing.com/thesacrament/