The Sacrament ★★★★★

Ti West's THE SACRAMENT is a chilling and effective film. Not really a horror film like he has done previously with HOUSE OF THE DEVIL but more of a sustained thriller. Despite what the film claims at the end, this is a fictional story which was written and directed by West. Three guys working for VICE media go out to what they think is a hippie commune to do a story and also to rescue their photographer's sister (Amy Seimetz). While at the site the trio from VICE realize that this is not a hippie commune but possibly their worst fears realized, a cult.

Patrick (Kentucker Audley), the photographer, goes with his sister while the other two guys stick around and decide to interview some of the members of the site known as Eden Parrish. Everyone they talk to love the place that they all created and is their version of paradise on Earth. However, a man named Father (Gene Jones) runs the place and something seems strange to the group in regards to him. They get an interview with Father but it's in front of all the residents/congregation of Eden's Parrish which is also odd. The film then takes a twist after the nights festivities where a little girl hands them a note reading "help us".

The film is pretty straight forward which is respectable as films today try to do too much with twists and finding different angles to tell their stories. Again, this is not a horror movie but a slow burning thriller and a riveting one at that. This is a film that deserves a much larger audience than it will probably get. That's too bad because Ti West has definitely proven himself as a more than capable filmmaker. After just having seen THE GIVER the day before, I couldn't help but make connections. Both films are about societies which are supposed to be idealistic paradises but in fact are not what they seem. The only difference in regards to this loosely made association is in how the films resolve their situations. In the end, THE GIVER is a really good movie whereas THE SACRAMENT is bordering on greatness.

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