It's a truly unique beast, when the horror movie strikes a genuine nerve based on or inspired by real events, it makes you take notice. "The Sacrament" is the kind of film that doesn't hit you over the head with the scary moments, but it instead just creeps on you and then before you know it all hell has broken loose.
Diving head first into the world of religious fanaticism, "The Sacrament" takes us along with two journalists (AJ Bowen & Joe Swanberg) who are documenting a man's (Kentucker Audley) search for his missing sister (Amy Seimetz) find themselves on the run after they locate her in a rural sober living community that comes off a lot like a cult, especially after they meet the strangely compelling (Gene Jones) who leads this mysterious community.
Ti West successfully hits a nerve with "The Sacrament" and rubs it until it is absolutely raw. With obvious parallels to the Jonestown massacre, West updates it this terrifying mold for a story and makes it jump off the screen with an electric script that is executed to damn near perfection. It goes step by step as it takes us into this world and unfolds with a creeping pace. To his credit, West doesn't rush any of the scares as the found footage POV of it all works well in this instance and lets us project and anticipate what might be happening before it actually transpires making the anticipation more intense than the actual climactic events. While not quite as effective as the Safe Haven segment from "V/H/S 2", it builds to an effective fear pitch that puts us on the edge of our seats.
The ensemble cast was solid, AJ Bowen & Joe Swanberg as our intrepid journalists were good as the two slightly over eager guys looking for an interesting story that spiralled away from them at an alarming rate where they could simply do nothing about it. Both men played it well as they made us feel like we were watching a car wreck just about to happen, along with Amy Seimetz as their guide into the worst possible scenario possible it plays out very, very well. That being said though the genuine star of the film is Gene Jones as Father. With some excellent moments of dialogue his delivery throughout was so understated and will make your skin crawl straight off your body and is truly the one who sells this story and makes it as effective as it is.
With "The Sacrament", Ti West and his ensemble keep it very naturalistic with a subtle build to an ending that can't help but freak you out because you've been so effective roped into this world.
4 out of 5 stars.
Special features on the DVD include four behind the scenes featurettes about the making of the movie and a feature length commentary track from writer/director Ti West and stars AJ Bowen and Amy Seimetz.
"The Sacrament" is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, On Demand and Digital Download from all major providers and retailers.