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The Sacrament (2014)

tomatometer

62

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 58
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 22

While it may be a bit too slow for some, The Sacrament offers enough tense atmosphere and intriguing ideas to satisfy discerning horror buffs.

33

Average Rating: 4.9/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 10

While it may be a bit too slow for some, The Sacrament offers enough tense atmosphere and intriguing ideas to satisfy discerning horror buffs.

audience

53

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 2,618

My Rating

Movie Info

From acclaimed writer/director Ti West (The House of the Devil) and master of horror Eli Roth (Hostel), 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

R,

Horror

Aug 19, 2014

$9.0k

Magnet Releasing - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (58) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (22) | DVD (1)

West's found-footage structure doesn't always entirely make sense, but it's easy to forgive "The Sacrament" its flaws.

June 26, 2014 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The first half is a cautiously dread-inducing tour de force... The second half, however, when all hell breaks loose a little too quickly, is the disappointment.

June 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Everything that happens is what you'd expect, and the choice of subject and the modifications West has made to the generic conventions don't add much to the suspense or thrills.

June 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Sacrament may not be a good movie, but it has enough virtues - enough gripping, well-put-together moments - that it made me reconsider my opinion of West as a director.

June 6, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The tension fizzles as The Sacrament narrows into predictability, indulging every cliché of found-footage filmmaking and Jonestown-styled cult apocalypticism.

June 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Shifts from the unnerving to the hollow after it becomes evident that Mr. West is more interested in showing how his characters die than how they lived.

June 5, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An overwhelmingly unoriginal thriller. "The Sacrament" borrows heavily, if not totally, from the 1978 Jonestown Massacre. But, it can't get the chills that even a bad documentary on Jonestown could give.

September 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Chambers
Movie Chambers

The film has a ticking time-bomb quality that pays off in the accelerating violence of the breathless final act, which is more grim than gory, with the high body count one would expect from a movie inspired by Jonestown.

September 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

What starts as a slow-burning and suspenseful story of religious fanaticism settles for a conventionally brutal resolution, with muddled social context and more narrative questions than answers.

June 30, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com
Cinemalogue.com

West is such an inventive, powerful filmmaker that he still manages to establish some interesting spaces, even with the clunky hand-held camerawork.

June 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Ti West's found-footage style horror film is a cut above the genre's norm, with an uncompromising, horrific, finale.

June 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Yet another found-footage thriller, this chilling horror film at least has some solid roots as a fictionalised version of real events.

June 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Contactmusic.com
Contactmusic.com

The found footage format becomes cumbersome and feels disingenuous as cameras are diligently placed by those handling them even during dump-and-run moments.

June 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

The Sacrament is a chilling film that looks at the darkest side of human nature and what is truly capable in the hands of evil people.

June 9, 2014 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Ti Wet takes the retro anxiety of 1978's Jonestown Massacre and slaps on a fresh coat of creepiness. Not that it needed much.

June 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Movies.com
Movies.com

[Ti West's] skills are underutilized and the found footage aspect is as sloppy as in a 'Paranormal Activity' number.

June 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Metro
Metro

It's an atmospheric film whose ominous score and straightforward plot -- channels the growing sense of dread.

June 6, 2014 Full Review Source: About.com
About.com

The entire first half of this film feels frivolous and unimportant. That is, until Gene Jones shows up.

June 6, 2014 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

Gives enough unsettling atmosphere and upsetting gut-level shock that this viewer didn't mind too much all the stuff he wasn't getting ...

June 6, 2014 Full Review Source: RogerEbert.com
RogerEbert.com

A masterclass in unsettling chills from West, lit up by another strong Seimetz turn.

June 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Sacrament

This is a disturbing movie, which for fans of edgy filmmaking, makes it a very interesting movie. It is not really a horror film. It should really say "Based on a true story," the story being the Jonestown massacre of 1978. But its a fictional yarn loosely based on the real life events. It was intriguing enough to make me look Jonestown on Wikipedia (for the record, the actual massacre was way worse than what happens in this movie).

There are a lot of Ti West fans out there, some of my favorite critics included. Unfortunately his style is a bit slow for my taste (and that is not a criticism of his work ... I am just not a fan of "slow-burn" movies. ADHD maybe?).

It is another found footage "docudrama," but thankfully doesn't stick strictly to found footage rules. As such, there is no shaky camera and things happening off-screen.

SPOILERS FOLLOW:

If you want to get a sense of what it was like when the adults and children (including babies) were given cyanide-laced Kool Aid, you won't be disappointed. Not-a-fun-fact: this is where the "drinking the Kool Aid" phrase originated, which I found out for the first time reading up on the actual circumstance of the tragedy.

The sense of foreboding and solid acting keeps this slow-burn very entertaining indeed.
September 17, 2014
Mark B.

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
May 10, 2014
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Ti West is one of the best horror directors today so I can't wait.
May 2, 2014
RocketMan
samii y

Super Reviewer

An unfortunate failure from West . . . yes it's an ambitious and sometimes frightening film, but it suffers from some really unconvincing performances and a dud of a finale.
August 22, 2014
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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