Ti West’s latest foray into the world of horror leaves us with The Sacrament, a heavy hitting shocker that takes its sweet time building skin-crawling tension as a world of pure terror slowly unfolds. West isn’t afraid to push the envelope with his wide-eyed thriller as he weaves a slow-burning tale that will truly leave you speechless by the time the credits roll. The film follows two journalists as they set out to document their friend’s journey to find his missing sister. Their journey leads them to Eden Parish, a self-sustained utopia with a mysterious leader known only as Father at the center of it all.
The film starts out simple enough as we’re introduced to its characters and the reasoning behind why they are traveling to Eden Parish, so enjoy the calm before the storm while you can because once they arrive you can kiss your nerves goodbye. It takes a special kind of filmmaker to make a movie like this work because not only is it of the slow-burn variety, but it’s all told through found-footage. Making just one of those elements work is hard enough as it is but West masterfully blends the two together to tell an amazingly creepy tale that finds a nice cozy spot under your flesh.
Once we’re actually inside Eden Parish, the film washes very a eerie atmosphere over you that will have you questioning its motives almost immediately. Why are these people here? Who is Father and how does he have such a strong hold over these people? Those are just a couple of the questions you’re going to ask yourself, and what’s great is that the main characters in the film are wondering the exact same thing. I loved that they—just like the audience—have a feeling deep down inside that something is just not right with this place. And it’s because of that element that you can never truly get comfortable as the film rolls along. It’s such a smart way to tell a story and shows just how much power a director has when it comes to storytelling. Not once will you get comfortable in this movie which is exactly where West wants you.
While the actors dialed in on some fine performances from top to bottom, the show is absolutely stolen by Gene Jones who plays Father in the film. This dude oozes a creepiness that makes it impossible to take your eyes off the screen as every word that comes out of his mouth is perfectly crafted to freak you the hell out.
But the true power of The Sacrament comes in its final act that has one hell of a gut-punch of a finale. You’ll be speechless as the world of Eden Parish comes crashing down, releasing all that horror that was slowly built up through the entire film. The ending of a horror movie like this is absolutely everything as it can either make or break all that tension that was so deliberately established. The Sacrament barrels through its finale without ever looking back, leaving a path of bloody destruction that is truly unforgettable. West has his fingers firmly planted on the pulse of the horror genre and I can’t wait to see what he’s got for us next.