Religious cult does what religious cults do…
After watching horror director Ti West’s most well known films The Innkeepers and The House of the Devil I commented ‘Ti West has yet to make a great movie but ironically his subtle, 1970′s aping style makes him one of the more original voices in modern Western horror.’ Well he has made a great movie now.
West has a very simple but distinctive style wherein he takes an established horror trope (ghost story in a hotel/girl alone in a house), spends an hour building the tension then ties it all together with a payoff. While he hadn’t quite mastered it with the aforementioned films he completely nails it here.
The tension is less hammer horror and more impending sense of dread leading to a truly nightmarish conclusion. The last twenty minutes are a masterclass in jaw dropping, unadulterated horror proving you don’t need gore to frame something truly shocking. As a leader in the exciting ‘mumblegore’ scene (characterized by low budget production values and amateur actors, heavily focused on naturalistic dialogue).
Ti West is breathing a fresh lease of life into a tired genre by going back to basics. A straightforward story, well acted, well written but still frightening and gruesome to the extent that I found myself watching the conclusion through my fingers. One thing missing from The Sacrament that I LOVED about West’s previous work was how it looks. House of the Devil looked amazing, like a vintage 70s horror but filmed in glorious HD. The barren setting of The Sacrament leaves West limited in his options visually but I am excited to see him tie all his talents into one flick eventually.
The Sacrament also brings the tragedy of ***SPOILER*** the Jonestown massacre to life in a unforgettable and affecting way. The best horror film I have seen since Oculus and the best overall of 2014