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Old 02-23-2014, 10:47 AM   #16
horrorscreamer
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Me too. I was very excited about another Ti West film, but the trailer did little for me. I will still buy the blu-ray though.
Agreed, I'll definitely check it out but the fact that the leader says "Film this" makes me feel like they sensationalized the event a bit too much (yes I realize that this is not a movie about Jonestown, but let's be honest here, it is).
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:27 AM   #17
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I checked this out today and I am pleased with the end product, although Ti didn't knock it completely out of the park. I'm really on the fence as far as if this out does West's previous full length feature, The Innkeepers, because there are a number of pros and cons with The Sacrament. First thing to point out is the pacing of the film is very crisp and quick, which is a stark contrast to the rest of the films in West's repertoire which are known for being slow burns. But what really sells this movie is acting from Gene Jones, who plays "Father" (the films lead antagonist) and AJ Bowen (giving his best performance since "the Signal"). The interview scene between these two is incredible and is hands down the best written and directed scene in any Ti West Film. Unfortunately Jones is only in three or four scenes and it honestly could of used more of him because he really steals the show.
For the negative side of things, this film falls short of capturing the full essence of what makes a found footage film work, and that is authenticity. The biggest blunder this film makes, and what is a giant pet peeve of mine regarding the Found Footage genre, is the inclusion of a musical score. I wouldn't be surprised if this was Eli Roth's doing (he did produce the film) but regardless it is distracting. Another thing is some of the acting from the supporting cast who do their best to make it obvious that they are staring in a movie. And the biggest problem of all, like all Ti West Films, is the ending which us abrupt and a bit underwhelming.

Overall, The Sacrament is a very watchable and entertaining horror film. Check it out. Rating: 7/10
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Old 05-02-2014, 06:53 PM   #18
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I checked this out today and I am pleased with the end product, although Ti didn't knock it completely out of the park. I'm really on the fence as far as if this out does West's previous full length feature, The Innkeepers, because there are a number of pros and cons with The Sacrament. First thing to point out is the pacing of the film is very crisp and quick, which is a stark contrast to the rest of the films in West's repertoire which are known for being slow burns. But what really sells this movie is acting from Gene Jones, who plays "Father" (the films lead antagonist) and AJ Bowen (giving his best performance since "the Signal"). The interview scene between these two is incredible and is hands down the best written and directed scene in any Ti West Film. Unfortunately Jones is only in three or four scenes and it honestly could of used more of him because he really steals the show.
For the negative side of things, this film falls short of capturing the full essence of what makes a found footage film work, and that is authenticity. The biggest blunder this film makes, and what is a giant pet peeve of mine regarding the Found Footage genre, is the inclusion of a musical score. I wouldn't be surprised if this was Eli Roth's doing (he did produce the film) but regardless it is distracting. Another thing is some of the acting from the supporting cast who do their best to make it obvious that they are staring in a movie. And the biggest problem of all, like all Ti West Films, is the ending which us abrupt and a bit underwhelming.

Overall, The Sacrament is a very watchable and entertaining horror film. Check it out. Rating: 7/10
Great review. I can't wait to check this one out!
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:38 AM   #19
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I'm not a fan of Ti West, and I can't say I have really enjoyed any of his other movies, but I have to say I really enjoyed this one, I thought the acting was great, the father character was great really quite creepy, I have to say I enjoyed the score, I felt it help with the overall feel of the movie, and I also have to say I enjoyed the ending, not sure what else you really could do with this, especially how the movie played out, all in all, impressed, everyone who visits these pages should watch it.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:00 PM   #20
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I agree with this being Ti West's movie so far but to me there wasnt any surprises in the in the story. The pace and acting were good but I guess I want something other than a straight jim jones type story
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:14 PM   #21
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I liked it more than I had expected to, I actually found it very suspenseful despite knowing the story (yeah now I can with 100% confidence say that this is just a re-telling of the Jonestown incident in a modern day setting). The one thing that bugged me was that there were so many scenes that didn't seem natural for anyone to be shooting. The found footage part was kind of half-assed so they might as well have made it half found footage and half non-found footage. Kinda like what Rec 3 did.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:18 PM   #22
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I really enjoyed House of the Devil and The Innkeepers but didn't really care for this one much. It's a dry and bare re-telling of the Jonestown incident. It would have been interesting if West used this real life story as an inspiration to create his own story - much like how the story of Ed Gein inspired Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs. This is more like those hamfisted Ed Gein direct to video movies that just follow the well-known story beat by beat without adding anything to it.

If you are going to repeat the events of an incident so identically, why not just make it based on that event? The story really wasn't changed enough to be "inspired" by Jonestown - it just is Jonestown. No, thanks. I'd rather watch a real documentary on the incident than this movie that really didn't shine any kind of meaningful light on the events and wasn't even very creative in updating or altering the story. While it is technically well-made, I just don't get the praise this one is getting. It feels very un-inspired story-wise and is pretty much just a cut and paste retelling of Jonestown with names changed and having the congressman changed to someone who runs a hipster news website. Those tiny changes are about the extent of the creativity.
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:48 PM   #23
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If you are going to repeat the events of an incident so identically, why not just make it based on that event? The story really wasn't changed enough to be "inspired" by Jonestown - it just is Jonestown. No, thanks. I'd rather watch a real documentary on the incident than this movie that really didn't shine any kind of meaningful light on the events and wasn't even very creative in updating or altering the story. While it is technically well-made, I just don't get the praise this one is getting. It feels very un-inspired story-wise and is pretty much just a cut and paste retelling of Jonestown with names changed and having the congressman changed to someone who runs a hipster news website. Those tiny changes are about the extent of the creativity.
Hmm, this is what I was afraid of from watching the trailer. Lowering expectations.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:39 PM   #24
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This is his best film thus far. It's not about being totally original as yes, it follows the Jonestown massacre quite closely. I think it's more about plot, the way you're told the story. Its documentary style is visceral, and there's a few scenes that are extremely powerful and incredibly moving. One scene even made me cry. This movie stays with you for a while.

People are probably put off because he's made horror films and this isn't horror. Don't go into it expecting a horror movie. You'll be disappointed.

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Old 05-06-2014, 05:48 PM   #25
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This looks pretty great to me! I'm in!

Matt, does it rely on gore or is it more suspense?
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:05 PM   #26
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Definitely more suspense I guess. If you had to choose between the two. But even then it's not like it's either/or. It's kind of neither. There's almost no gore.

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Old 05-06-2014, 06:13 PM   #27
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wow, an Eli Roth produced movie with no gore? haha
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:26 PM   #28
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Watched last night. I've liked and/or loved West's first three horror movies, but this was really dull. Even AJ Bowen (usually always top of his game) looked bored.

Glad I didn't buy this based on West's name alone. Very disappointing.
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:44 PM   #29
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I actually watched this (Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple) the other night and I found it much more interesting than Sacrament as it's the real story and I was only somewhat familiar with it.

Great documentary to watch if you aren't familiar and want more background on the events that are portrayed in the faux documentary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NQ5KBzD8w0
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:16 PM   #30
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I'm a big fan of West's style. I like House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. And I think they promise something really special in the future. This isn't it.

I went into The Sacrament as blind as possible. I knew it was about a Jonestown-type situation. But that was the sum of my knowledge. Unfortunately this is one case where I wish I'd investigated more.
Spoiler:
It turns out that this is a very derivative dramatization of the Guyana tragedy. It doesn't use the real story as a jump-off point to do something original. It pretty much presents a truncated version of the actual events. And as others have pointed out, the actual events were substantially MORE horrifying than what we get here. That's a huge problem for me. If you're going to make a horror film about a landmark event like this, it shouldn't be less frightening than the reality.

This is really an oddly conceived film. It plays its cards like a mystery. And it does a good job of establishing a sense of dread and foreboding. So you can't help but feel apprehensive. You know something awful is going to happen. And I had enough faith in West to assume it would be something original. But then it becomes apparent that it's following the exact blueprint of the Jonestown Massacre. I pretty much threw up my hands in frustration. If you're doing a Jonestown movie, why set it in a fictional community?

Needless to say, the third act is so familiar that any potential scares are totally neutered. You still get the queasy feeling that comes with watching hundreds of people die in a painful and grotesque manner. But without any sense of surprise it's just sad--unpleasant and possibly disturbing. But you know where it's going. Of course, there are also the normal, tiresome conventions of the found footage genre. Put it all together and the finale seems totally redundant and pointless.

Jonestown one of the most covered news stories of the late 20th century. As one who just shy of his 10th birthday when the news hit, I can recall the awful initial shock--and the layers of horror that got tacked on over the next few years as more and more info became available. The way the residents lived there was far more frightening than anything that West recaps here. And I honestly don't understand why he'd skip over that and structure the movie the way he did. There was really no benefit to structuring this film as a mystery. A lot of your audience already knows the ending. And if West just acknowledged that at the script stage, he could have delved more meaningfully into daily life at the compound--which could have made the movie more memorable for those who already know the broad strokes of the story. The mystery structure feels like an enormous cheat here. Anyone over 40 years old (and many younger, well informed people) is going to feel slighted by the "reveal" of this film.


As usual, West shows a lot of promise. He's so good at establishing mood and tension that it's frustrating when it doesn't pay off. I still expect a legitimately great film from him down the line.
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