The Sacrament

Hoop-Tober, Film 8 of 31:

At the end of the this film's credits, the screen reads...

"The characters and incidents portrayed and the names herein are fictitious, and any similarity of the name, character of history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional."

Hmm... really? You're gonna go that route, guys?

Because here's the thing: this movie genuinely scared the shit out of me. It's a horrifying film, probably one of the more frightening experiences I've had watching any horror film released over the course of the past, say, five years (aside from Franck Khalfoun's Maniac remake and a few others); it's true horror, no jump scares, ghosts, haunted houses, demonic possession, nothing supernatural. It's realistic horror, grounded in reality (I really appreciate whole Vice theme running throughout the duration of the film, it definitely added to the effect of realism), and I think it may be Ti West's most frightening work to date.

With that being said, it's hardly even fictional. It's a subjective recreation of 1978 The Jonestown Massacre in Guyana, something that we all already know plenty about. One could visit the History Channel if they wanted to learn about this tragic occurrence; they don't need to dive into a "fictional" horror film that advertises itself as being not at all based in fact or reality. So here's what I'll say... the film scared me, quite a bit - it's very well done, it's very realistic, it's shocking, it's bleak; it's got it all in that department... but I'd like to make it known that I would have preferred if, rather than attempting to distance itself from the Jonestown tragedy, Ti West and his crew would have dedicated the film to the lives lost in Guyana in November of 1978.

That would have been the respectful thing to do, and it wouldn't have forced me to call the film into question, as I'm doing now. With that being said, I'd like for you to see the film and decide for yourself. For now, my opinion is that it's an extremely effective horror film, but I'm not entirely certain it is one that needed to be made, and if it did need to be made, maybe it could have been executed a bit differently.

I'm very torn.

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