Found footage films have somehow become a mainstay in the film industry, most notably in the horror genre. Director Ti West has been putting his mark on the genre with his films ‘The House of the Devil’, ‘The Innkeepers’, and his segment on ‘The ABC’s of Death’. Now he is taking his turn at the found footage genre with his latest film The Sacrament from producer Eli Roth. The film has been getting some good reviews and with West at the helm could this be one of those from this genre that actually delivers or will it be a cult you should avoid?
The Sacrament follows a news team who trails a man as he travels to an undisclosed location to find his missing sister. Upon entering "Eden Parish" and meeting the community's leader, it becomes apparent to the newcomers that this paradise may not be as it seems. Initially this film plays up just like any other in the genre, but then thanks to the subject matter starts making some interesting twists. The story clearly takes a lot of its idea from the real life Jonestown Massacre, almost making it feel like you are there to experience it yourself. West has crafted an interesting documentary style film with the perfect subject matter that is creepy and terrifying due to the real nature of it all. There isn’t any real horror to the film other than knowing that this actually happened and how scary it all actually probably was and is. The cast all do a fine job, but it is Gene Jones that really brings it home. Jones takes on the Jim Jones type of role known here as ‘Father’. He has all the kindness, love and evil needed to make a character like this believable and understand how he could have created this place. While a lot of these movies fail to make a lot of sense to the camera use, but here they do decent job of making it feel natural, with the exception of a couple of moments. Knowing the history of this story it adds a chilling aspect to the finished film making it a well-crafted piece of horror cinema.
Some of the best horror films bring something subtle to the table and allow the real world to cause the terror instead of a monster and this movie is a great example of that. It is far from scary and isn’t bloody or anything, but does take you into the heart of real evil in a way that helps to give you an idea of what may have actually happened in Jonestown, but with some of its own twists to it all. Like all horror films they are subjective to the viewer so decide for yourself and join the cult when The Sacrament hits stores on August 19th.