Ready to get your movie on? You should be! This is a good one. Not necessarily a great one, but it’s well worth the watch.
I did not have high expectations for this movie. First of all, it only has 1 out of 5 stars on Netflix and second of all, the Netflix people chose the absolute worst freeze frame of all time as one of the photos for the film. Is that an actual job? Do people get paid to choose those freeze frames? If so, I want in on that. However, if this is an actual job, the mantra, “With great power comes great responsibility,” actually applies. If you choose a crappy freeze frame, then people are less likely to watch the movie (my case in regards to this movie). That being said, what if the freeze frame choosers don’t like the movie and are purposely trying to sabotage it?! Diabolical.
Back to The Sacrament, the story is about two journalists from Vice Media (I love Vice!), Sam, played by AJ Bowen, and Jake, played by Joe Swanberg, who go with their friend, Patrick, played by Kentucker Audley, to find his sister. She’s a recovering addict and has gone to Eden Parish, a self sustained community in the middle of the jungle in another country, lead by the charismatic “Father”. Sam, Jake and Patrick want to get to the bottom of what is going on and see if the sister, Caroline, played by Amy Seimetz, needs rescuing.
This movie is slow building and it doesn’t really get into the thick of it for quiet a while. If you’re expecting jumps and scares right off the bat, you will be disappointed. Instead, there is a very ominous atmosphere. Everything seems fine but something is not quite right. It’s all in the details; the dichotomy between what is being said and the truth behind the words.
What makes this movie all the more eerie is it’s foundations in reality. SPOILER ALERT (skip to the next paragraph if you haven’t seen the movie). In 1978, 913 people of the People’s Temple committed mass suicide in a commune called Jonestown in northwest Guyana. They all died of cyanide poisoning. It’s incredible to think that that many people would willingly kill themselves. There is obviously speculation that this was a mass murder instead of a mass suicide but all evidence points to the contrary. I can only imagine how powerful a speaker the leaders of cults like these would have to be to convince so many people to do that. It sends chills down my spine and makes this movie all the more effective in it’s delivery. Knowing that something is possible and knowing that it has actually happened are two completely different things.
Director Ti West does a great job of building our suspense and making us question what is happening. The script, also written by Ti West, is well constructed and the characters are relatable. The acting was convincing and I particularly liked Gene Jones as Father. He portrayed the crazy cult leader, whose conviction goes to the core of his being, perfectly. This movie was also produced by Eli Roth, who is pretty amazing in his own right (Cabin Fever is epic).
Overall, this is a great suspense thriller as opposed to a horror film but well worth the watch. I definitely recommend it. If you have seen it or watch it because of this review, please let me know your thoughts.
Here’s the trailer if you want to check it out, but it does give a lot of the movie away so be wary: