The Sacrament (2013)

SYNOPSIS OF “THE SACRAMENT”:

“The Sacrament” follows two journalists as they set out to document their friend’s journey to find his missing sister.  They travel to “Eden Parish,” a self-sustained utopia.  At the center of this small, religious, socialist community is a mysterious leader known only as “Father.”  As their friend reunites with his sister, it becomes apparent to the newcomers that this paradise may not be as it seems.  What started as just another documentary shoot becomes a race to escape with their lives.“ 

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I love horror movies that have to do with religion.  I have grown up a Christian my whole life and have struggled with radical and "born-again” Christians over my love and respect for horror movies.  I have told them, that in life, we have to deal with Good and Evil or God vs. Satan, or whatever you want to call it.  We can’t live a life where we pretend that we are only surrounded by Good and that Evil is never to be found.  With that said, I think “The Sacrament” proves why religion can be deadly and dangerous - especially if put in the wrong hands.  

The Sacrament is essentially the telling of the real life events of the Jonestown Massacre in 1978 - we all remember it as the mass suicide by poisoned Kool Aid.  In the movie we are introduced to the mysterious figure “Father” - the leader of Eden Parish and, in my eyes, the Devil.  He is an older gentleman, clearly declining in age, but has somehow captivated and manipulated hundreds of people into believing that Eden Parish is the end all be all.  He has made these people a prisoner in their own community - never allowing them to leave and making them think that without the “Father” they would have nothing and no one.  

When two journalist and a photographer come to Eden Parish to find the photographer’s sister, things start to get out of hand.  We are presented a paradise in which everyone has found their utopia; it’s almost convincing to the journalists.  But as the movie goes on you begin to see how much the “Father” has manipulated everyone.  It’s when its time for the journalists and photographer to leave that shit hits the fan.  No one can leave.  Everyone is a prisoner.  There is no utopia and there is no paradise.  It’s a mirage with a dark and scary reality.  It’s amazing to think that one person can have so much control over hundreds of people that he can make them all commit suicide.  It’s both fascinating and utterly frightening.  

So here is what is good and bad about the movie:

PROS

- The acting.  It’s believable and Gene Jones (who plays the “Father”) is absolutely superb. 

- The tension - it’s palpable and horrifying when you see a “utopian” lifestyle crumble in less than 24 hours. 

- The story was great and believable - especially in this day and age.  Though it relies heavily on what happened at Jonestown, it also made me think a lot about Scientology and the rumors that spread about how people are treated within the “religion” and those that leave. 

CONS

- Pacing of the story was slow at times and I found myself getting a little bit bored here or there

- I wish the story delved more into how the “Father” came to be - I think it would have added a twist to learn more about him before he became what he became

This is a movie that I would probably watch again just because it’s something that I’m fascinated in.  It doesn’t offer many scares or scare tactics but it definitely shows you how evil the human race can be.  Here are my final thoughts for “The Sacrament”:

Concept/Story: 1.5/2
Style/Effect: 2/2
Atmosphere: 2/2
Scares: 0/2
Rewatchability: 1/2
TOTAL:  6.5/10

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