Horrorfest 2016 Presents: The Sacrament (2013, Ti West)


This is one of those films where found footage style filmmaking works.¬†The Sacrament¬†is unnerving and although a bit slow is a good and notable flick. Ti West is a talented director who knows how to craft a notable slow burn, and while his latest doesn’t add new ground I like what I saw. He also understands that characters are an important aspect of horror movies.

Patrick journeys to Eden Parish to find out what his sister, Caroline, is up to and why she has only reached out recently after years of silence. Sam and Jake, his fellow coworkers, accompany him, with the goal of making a documentary about the experience. What they find out is equal parts disturbing and sinister, putting them in great danger. I love that creeping feeling that comes from watching West’s films, the idea that at any given moment something terrible is bound to happen.

Some of the acting in this movie is weak and there are certain scenes that don’t quite work. Gene Jones steals the movie as Father, a man who’s grandfather style approach to running his commune hides a strong ability to manipulate people. Due to how the film is structured he doesn’t have enough screen time, unfortunately. Although not better than his previous efforts this is still worth a view as its still on Netflix.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: V/H/S (2012, Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence)


Horror anthologies are often fun to watch but annoying to review since you have to look at each individual segment and then look at the big picture. Not to mention thinking about the wrap around story-the whole reason for the single stories happening in the first place. V/H/S is good yet I felt a little disappointed at the final product. This could have worked better as a shorter movie or a TV series.

However some of the stories were really good and one was actually great. There was one bad one and I wasn’t really impressed with the wrap around tale although that one had some creepy moments. The film also operates on nightmare fuel-particularly in the segment “Amateur Night.” What surprised me is that “Second Honeymoon”, the one Ti West directed was the worst of the bunch. Maybe he works best in a longer format, as he builds up atmosphere and slowly creeps out the viewer.

I also really dug “Tuesday the 17th” although I’m a sucker for slasher films and I thought it was a cool twist on the genre. “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” was solid-creepy but with a weak ending. The use of Skype on that episode was rather original and clever. Also the films ends on a strong note with the rather freaky and mysterious “10/32/98,” which is fitting considering that story is set on Halloween in a horror movie.

I did like that the main story, titled “Tape 56” was never fully explained. The questions left unanswered makes what transpired a tad unnerving even if the story itself is a bit lacking overall. Despite its flaws V/H/S still works as a semi-effective anthology. I am looking forward to viewing the sequel, which based on the trailer I saw appears to be more intense and crazier.

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