Director Ti West may possess one of the most compelling voices in contemporary horror, but the wit and originality that characterised his earlier films ‘House of the Devil’ and ‘The Innkeepers’ is all but absent from this mildly enjoyable but seriously unimaginative found-footage shocker. In mock-doc style we follow Vice magazine journalists Sam (AJ Bowen) and Jake (Joe Swanberg) on a mission to investigate the remote Christian settlement of Eden Parish. Its apparently benevolent overseer is a drawling Southern Baptist preacher (Gene Jones) known only as Father. But of course, the Parish is not the clean-living rural paradise it first appears...
Perhaps if ‘The Sacrament’ acknowledged for a second that it was closely based on the infamous Jonestown massacre of 1978 we’d be able to overlook the predictable plotting. As it is, we’re left with a film that either presumes ignorance on the part of its audience, or assumes they’re happy to sit through a story that’s been told so many times before. As with all of West’s work this is a good-looking, well acted film shot through with moments of real power, but its conventionality is troubling.
Cast and crew