Whether you’re a fan of Ti West’s previous work or not, his most recent film, The Sacrament, demands its viewers’ attention. The pace at which West let’s the mystery unfold allows for great tension and suspense in what is probably his most chilling and polished film yet.
The Sacrament follows three friends who are all apart of a multimedia company called VICE. When Sam (AJ Bowen) finds out that his fellow photographer’s sister has joined a community outside of the states to better herself from her drug addiction, he immediately wants to investigate its origin. He also brings along his cameraman, played by yet another indie filmmaker/actor: Joe Swanberg. From the moment the three get off the helicopter, there’s a clear sense that “Eden Parish” is not what they thought it was. The so called paradise is guarded like an internment camp. There’s only one way in and one way out. The three are greeted by Patrick’s sister, Caroline (Amy Seimetz), who ensures them that the men with guns are not a fair representation of what they’re about to witness. From there on, each scene is a nail-biter, skillfully emphasized by Tyler Bates’ original score.
The found footage sub-genre of horror filmmaking has made its way cozily into my heart over the past few years. Ti West is no newcomer when it comes to the genre, having directed segments in anthology films like V/H/S and The ABC’s of Death. Interestingly enough, this film reminded me of Timo Tjahanto and Gareth Evans’ segment from V/H/S 2 called “Safe Haven.” Timo actually explains how he wanted to try doing a film about the Jamestown Massacre in an article from Entertainment Weekly, but that’s neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is, Ti West grabbed at the opportunity to portray this deranged vision of a powerful man’s utopia and did a damn horrifying job.
The Sacrament is now screening at select theaters and is also available to rent on iTunes.
Review by Ryan Kramer