THE SACRAMENT | DVD REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

THE SACRAMENT is an Eli Roth produced Ti West directed found footage cult horror movie from 2014. The fine folks at Entertainment One released it on DVD, Blu Ray and Digital in October of 2014 and sent us come copies to giveaway. Worked to-the-bone editor JK has now gotten around to getting the review and competition live. Kernel Andrew reviews this tense creepfest and you can win copies after his review. THE SACRAMENT is rated MA15+ and runs for 99mins. Enjoy Andrew’s review……all the best……JK.

 

THE SACRAMENT MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE SACRAMENT | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

Among horror fans Ti West has become a bit of a legend. There are some that even watch his movies and say that there is now a “Ti West” style, a way of doing things his way. I would tend to agree. West brings a sense of honesty with his low budget, low key approaches to movies. He does this without skimping on any of the technical aspects. Perhaps that is just a long winded way of saying he is one of the most technically accomplished directors in horror today. Like other directors with a reputation he has built a cast of semi-regulars who have worked with him before. I guess they know what to expect from him as director and play accordingly. As much as I appreciate West this is where my criticism with his approach would start. There is such a commitment to technical polish and to the cast fitting into this carefully controlled way of film-making that he doesn’t allow his cast any room to breathe around the lines. Atmosphere and meta-story are sacrificed to a gorgeous shot.

 

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THE SACRAMENT | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | SAM AND PATRICK INTERVIEW FATHER

 

THE SACRAMENT is set in the present day. The beginning of the movie, which should engross audiences, instead leaves them (perhaps just me) ho-hum about the opening act premise. The scene opens at a meeting in the offices of Vice, which we learn through a very wordy intro, is a pretty vacuous media entity. We zoom in on a conversation between photographer Patrick (Kentucker Audley) and his editor Sam (A.J. Bowen). Patrick tells Sam that his former drugged up mess of a sister has just left the United States to live in some kind of commune. Here she hopes to get sober. Patrick thinks it sounds kind of like a cult. Sam smells a story, so he, Patrick, and videographer Jake (Joe Swanberg) set off to expose this cult known as “Eden Parish”. This initial premise did not really grab my attention, it kind of went from opening to all I need to know of the story in about 5 minutes. But being a fan of Ti West I decided to stick it out a little longer.

At the commune they find Patrick’s sister, Caroline (Amy Seimetz), who since Patrick saw her last has gotten clean and seemingly together. She seems genuinely a little freaked out by seeing her brother with a film crew in toe. She tells them all she’ll have to check with “Father” to see if these documentarians may be permitted to film around “Eden Parish”. Is anyone thinking Jonestown yet? (Ed note: It is actually loosely based on Jonestown). 

 

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THE SACRAMENT | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | CAROLINE AND PATRICK

 

Thankfully West in his usual commitment to technical excellence does not move us towards a found footage style movie (which I am eternally grateful for, how many more of these do we need? The great ones have been done and now we are left with some truly awful examples). It is true that much of the movie is shown through Jake’s camera perspective. It’s still kind of found filmesque but uses a mix of digital video imagery and a more polished feature documentary style. There are some great moments here where West can show us his technical chops and he obliges. What is great stylistically is that West shows us through visuals that this place is not the hippie love nest we were all expecting.

As we move into the middle act we meet “Father” (Gene Jones). Jones plays this role well. A great mix of Southern gentleman filled on the surface with charm and intelligence. But underneath all that a sense that this cosiness can turn sinister very quickly and within a heartbeat.

 

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THE SACRAMENT | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | FATHER AND SAM

 

Unfortunately the emotional interplay between the “interlopers” and the commune is not given enough room to breathe. It seems that West wants to get to the nasty bits as quickly as possible. This leap of logic I found quite irritating, a seemingly innocuous film crew arrive and suddenly everyone is preparing for violence and mayhem? I think West could have teased out the nuances here for longer. Still when the violence does erupt it does so with a great sense of panic. West’s signature brutality and savagery is there for all to see. Whilst I lost all sense of the story here West does do a great job simplifying these encounters to life or death type struggles and to the inevitable blood soaked conclusion. Not sure that is a good thing. We all know the man can do this with his eyes closed I want more from this great talent.

Credit must be given to Eric Robbins for his great camerawork. Although this is primarily a found footage piece it really has no business looking this good. Other work of note is Jade Healy’s production design which visually conveys the camp’s Spartan and faux-organic principles. Tyler Bates’ spooky score which underpins it all effectively. I honestly just wish the narrative was given more time. We all know that West is a very talented horror director with great vision. I just wish I could score this movie on anything more than its technical aspects.

 

3 Pops

 

With special thanks to eOneANZ to win one the 2X DVDs of THE SACRAMENT you need to either like and share/ retweet this post on Facebook/Twitter/ Google+/ Pinterest/ LinkedIn/ Flipboard or Instagram (all the links to follow us are on the top right of homepage), you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer/s to the following questions:

What is your favourite “found footage” movie of all time and why? Mine goes to the grand daddy of them – THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT – I attended the premiere when it first released and got drunk with the directors at the after party – still a fond memory 🙂

If you do not have social media then get with the times – you can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jking@saltypopcorn.com.au telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

Prizes will no longer be awarded to first in first served. It will now be a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent after FEB 15th! Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.

 

 

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