Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Sacrament Review

Ti West has done it again. I know there are plenty of people out there who don't like his films, but I am certainly not one of those. Since my first viewing of House of the Devil, whenever I see his name attached to a project, I am certainly going to be watching. The guy is simply the master of the slow burn. His movies are always entertaining from start to finish, and the payoff is typically huge, which for me just makes the journey all the more enjoyable. The Sacrament takes on some familiar subject matter, the Jonestown massacre, but adds a Ti West spin on it.

When he gets a strange letter from his sister Sarah, inviting him to come and visit Eden Parish, a commune she's taken up with, Jake and a small crew from the news website he works for decide to visit and record a story while there. When they arrive, the inhabitants initially all sing the praises of a man called Father and his village. Things quickly begin to take a turn however, when strange occurrences lead them to believe that all is not in fact well at Eden Parish.

It seems like AJ Bowen is almost always going to be around somewhere in a Ti West film, and this one is no exception. He turns in yet another strong performance here, as Sam, and is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. Kate Lyn Sheil is also good as Sarah, I could totally believe that she'd gone off the deep end and joined up with a group like Father's. Speaking of whom, Gene Jones plays him perfectly as a guy you know you're supposed to hate, but at the same time, can see yourself liking. The cast all work very well and do an admirable job of telling the story that Ti West was trying to tell.

With The Sacrament, Ti West does a fantastic job of telling but not telling a story that most of us are familiar with, but doing so in a way that makes it not feel like a rehash. I just totally dig the way he makes movies. At this point in his career, being familiar with the way he normally works really pays off here. From the very start, there's a sense of impending dread that is felt even if you're not at all familiar with Jonestown. If you aren't already a fan of Ti West, this one most likely won't be changing your mind. For those of us who are, however, it's yet another film to obsess over for years to come. The Sacrament is proof that vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. ain't got shit on a bunch of Jesus freaks. Two thumbs up.

1 comment:

Maynard Morrissey said...

Not a fan of West's previous films, but this one completely blew me away. Thrilling, frightening and tense from start to finish. Awesome!