Friday, May 29, 2015

Now on Netflix: The Sacrament Movie Review

Runtime: 99 minutes
Release Date: May 1, 2014
Rating: R
Director: Ti West

I am probably one of Netflix's favorite customer types because I never run out of things to watch. My queue (I refuse to call it my list) currently has 496 titles in it, and every time I dip below 490, I wind up adding another 5-7 titles. Since my queue has a number of horror movies in it, I thought I would do a new feature where I try to review a horror movie now available on Netflix every few weeks or so. First up? The Sacrament.

Patrick is your average normal guy who just so happens to have a recovering addict for a sister. When Caroline invites him to come visit her in the middle of nowhere at the retreat where she lives called Eden Parish, he isn't too keen on the idea. That all changes when he finds out more about the mysterious history of the place and how it now has guards watching over it 24/7. When he tells his friends about it, they decide to go with him and make a documentary about the place. Along for the ride Sam, a reporter, and Jake, the cameraman.

Once they get there, the helicopter pilot they hired to take them informs them that if they aren't ready to leave when he comes back the next day, he'll leave without them. They then find a large group of guards with big guns watching over the entrance who initially refuse to let them through. They finally get inside and briefly consider leaving before Caroline appears and tells them lots of stories about her new life. Though they receive free rein to wander through the compound, it doesn't take long for them to realize they made a huge mistake.

The Sacrament is easily one of the most unsettling horror movies I've seen in awhile. It wasn't that long ago that I watched a documentary on the Jonestown Massacre, and with all that fresh in my mind, The Sacrament had me squirming in my seat.

One of the more unsettling moments occurred early in the film when Sam has the chance to sit and talk with Father, the leader of their group on camera. Though initially promised that he would answer any questions, they later learn that he will only answer general questions about specific topics. He then demands that the interview take place in a public forum right before some big party. The way Father turns the tables on Sam and the way the people just stared at him with shiny eyes made me truly uncomfortable.

Then there's the woman and her young daughter who clearly have some problems. The guys learn that the little girl is mute but that there might be a reason why she no longer talks. They then find themselves surrounded by a group of people who want nothing more than to get the hell out of the compound and that they would rather leave with these strangers than spend one more day with Father.

Oh, and did I mention how a wholesome and innocent looking nurse tells them about how all their followers sold off everything they owned and gave the money to Father before they could even move in?

The ending left me feeling fairly empty and left me watching 3rd Rock From the Sun for the rest of the night. The Sacrament is definitely one of those movies that will leave you feeling unsettled and out of sorts after you watch it. While it might not be a horror movie in the larger sense of the word, it's definitely a disturbing movie that will make you think about what you would do in the same situation.

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