Writer and Director Ti West took a prominent spot in my 2014 Horror Movie a Day rotation with The Sacrament joining The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. I loved both of the previous films, and was was instantly taken with West's approach to the material and atmospheric tone. This film was no different.
The Sacrament made the festival rounds in 2013, then received a VOD/Digital release in May of this year followed by a limited theatrical run in June. I generally go with the year that a film was released for general public consumption, but in this case I ran with what is listed on both IMDb and Wikipedia. It all comes down to how you look at things in this era of multiple and sometimes maddening distribution methods and whichever one your OCD is most comfortable with.
|I'm ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille.|
|Hey look, they have machine guns. Must be the welcoming committee.|
|I'd say we'll be drinking the Kool-Aid, but for some reason they don't want their brand associated with our cult.|
|I'm a professional, no 'shaky cam' footage on my watch.|
When 'Father' arrives for his interview, Sam is unnerved when he learns he is going to have to conduct it in front of the entire population of the commune. The interview is a strange one with 'Father' talking about how America is at war, and how he has created a safe and loving place for his 'flock'. It gets even more bizarre when 'Father' starts quizzing Sam about his wife and unborn child. How did he know about this, and why bring it up? Is it a veiled threat? This heightens the sense that they are in some sort of unforeseeable danger.
|I asked for Barbara Walters!|
As with The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, West has done a fantastic job with casting likable actors in the lead roles. Sam and Jake never come off as sensation-seeking, cynical New York media types, but appear legitimately interested in the community and telling a balanced story. They are smart enough to know that there is something wrong within Eden Parish, but allow themselves to try to accept and understand the strange way of life these people have chosen. What they do have trouble with is the blind acceptance of 'Father' as a savior and the strange manner in which he conducted the interview.
|I can take Freddy and Jason in a fight. They wouldn't stand a chance.|
|Oh don't worry, I'll make sure you get the cherry-flavored Kool-Aid..|