The Sacrament - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Sacrament Reviews

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July 15, 2017
I must say that I have been greatly deceived by this film, as well as the special features provided by the DVD. At first, I was fascinated by this film and would have effortlessly provided a five-star review. I liked how "unique" it was. And, I am a sucker for anything even remotely disturbing. However, I now know that the creativity that I loved so much about this film is a big fat lie. This has soured my opinion entirely, and it has tainted my respect for those involved with this film. Why? Well, I researched Jonestown.

Eli Roth notes that Jonestown inspired this story. Yet, this inspiration is actually nothing but a complete rip-off of history. I looked up Jonestown since I liked this movie so much. I found out that Eli Roth copied real life, every little detail of Jonestown, and has tried to pass it off as his own idea. Just watch the extra features. They go on about how interesting his idea was and his creative vision, and the mention of Jonestown feels like a throwaway line.

"Father," clad in his dark glasses, IS Jim Jones. Not a clever character. Jim Jones was called "Dad" and wore dark glasses almost all of the time. The set (which was described heavily as Eli Roth's vision) is the same as Jonestown, down to the picket fence of the daycare, the chair and table featured on the DVD cover, and the elevated huts. If that weren't enough, "Father's" final monologue to his people in the pavilion is nearly identical to that of Jim Jones' on the infamous "Death tape" provided by the FBI. Which also took place in a pavilion.

Not to mention the media aspect. Not to mention the heavy focus on seniors, African Americans, and poor. Not to mention that the metal vat used to mix the potion (which Jim Jones called the poison too) looks just like the metal vat used at Jonestown. You know how "Father" ends a lot of his sentences by calling Sam "friend"? Jim Jones uses the same phrase in an interview on the day that 909 people lost their lives. I could go on and on.

At the very least, Eli Roth should have paid respects to Jonestown. He should have been upfront with how closely he followed history instead of trying to pass his "unique and horror filled" plot as his own. Even if I did like the acting somewhat, it's not enough for me to overlook the serious disregard and disrespect this has for Jonestown.

Why not just make a Jonestown movie? It'd have saved him the trouble of thinking up the one or two original points.
June 24, 2017
Great concept. Started off promising. Horrible acting
½ February 8, 2017
Love Ti West films. Be warned; good film, but disturbing. If you are familiar with the story about Jim Jones and Jonestown, you will know what to expect.
½ January 28, 2017
The Sacrament is a rather disappointing, and safe film from a very capable filmmaker. Ti West seems content in just retelling the story of the Jonestown massacre instead of using the tragedy as inspiration to create something new and original.
January 6, 2017
Worth watching. Suspensful.
January 3, 2017
Totally was not into this one. Probably a reason this movies been in my Netflix queue for close to three years! All jokes aside I actually really like the Director Ti West. His previous films The House of the Devil (2009) and The Innkeepers (2011) are absolutely fantastic. This one is a misfire. Closer to a misfire. A found footage film that just never had me caring at all. The film is about a film crew that goes out to document a religious cult living far away from everyone in a place called Eden Parish. The crew consists of Jake (Joe Swanberg) the cameraman, Sam (AJ Bowen) the biggest journalist of the group seeking answers, and Patrick (Kentucker Audley) who is searching for his missing sister who mysteriously send him a letter. The crew interview the people living at Eden Parish who all seem to love it and praise their leader nick named Father (Gene Jones). Soon enough Sam and the gang realize not everything is as it seems at Eden Parish. The first 25 minutes or so are actually very interesting and makes for a good mystery. Unfortunately from that point on the movie just kinda throws itself into a lot more action and it just never was interesting at that point. I didn't care what happened to anyone and by the end of the film I just wasted an hour and a half. Skip it!
½ September 30, 2016
It's got a lot of wonderful tension and thrill, but it lacks substance and nuance. I feel like this movie tries to be more provocative than it actually is. I was genuinely creeped out and disturbed by certain scenes, but overall, I wanted just a bit more, a bit less cliche.
½ September 14, 2016
A creepy but intriguing story inspired by Jonestown.
August 5, 2016
Slow burn thriller. I loved it.
½ June 16, 2016
0 stars... 0 interest in turning a tragedy of real life into a morbid and lifeless semi-horror with a lifeless script and even worse screenplay. I think it is a let down on the obvious talent odd the director... Perhaps sticking to some real horror would help as trying to turn a mockumentary (and not a good one) into something theatrical and dramatic is a recipe for failure.
Super Reviewer
½ June 3, 2016
A more sensitive man than I would probably have been offended enough to write The Sacrament off entirely. Personally, I'm not one for judging art from a moral point of view, I think it's easy to separate myself from watching films through that lens. But even I was a little ticked off by Ti West's microcosm retelling of the Jonestown Massacre. Not for the completely reasonable explanation of profiting from an actual tragedy, honestly that sort of thing never really phased me. No, what bothered me was that he pretended it wasn't inspired by the Peoples Temple.

Is that something I should let negatively influence my opinion on the movie? I don't know, it seems pretty classless, but I don't think I should. Thankfully, the point's moot because I really didn't care for The Sacrament at all.

My distain for modern situation with Found Footage Horror is (no pun intended) well documented. I'm just generally turned off by the whole thing. Here, Ti West manages to take that distain up to another level. Constantly throughout the course of The Sacrament, there are scenarios which make absolutely zero sense from a found-footage standpoint. Decisions are made to have a score in the more intense scenes, as well as shooting from more angles than they have cameras, or to keep the audio running at pace, while the cameras jump from place to place. The end result of this means that we don't have a Found Footage Horror (which typically would be bad enough) but instead we are treated to a regularly-filmed movie, except that the camera is poor quality, constantly shakes, and actors constantly look straight into the lens, removing any suspension of disbelief you could possibly hope to garner from The Sacrament.

The people involved with the film have all been pretty hit and miss in the past. And even contained within The Sacrament, the actors themselves are hit and miss. Arguably more hit, but unfortunately the misses are at the times when it matters most. There's some cringe-worthy bad reactions in the climax of the movie, especially from the leads.

The Sacrament is not enthralling, and I personally, was very disappointed, even separating myself completely from the Jonestown Issue.


½ May 15, 2016
Ti West continues to try different approaches to the horror genre, and finds success here again with a fake Vice documentary. [B]
½ March 6, 2016
a tense, unsettling, atmospheric, and intriguing horror film that will satisfy horror buffs alike even if it is a bit too slow at times especially in the beginning.
February 24, 2016
Creepy this is a true story
January 28, 2016
if this was real doc would b good as a mock-doc it ain't
½ January 25, 2016
Im not gonna see this movie twice!.. The story deserved a much bigger production, with a little bit more pace to it.. Good villain.. 1.5/5
½ January 20, 2016
Summary: Well-acted and intriguing, The Sacrament is definitely Ti West's least boring horror film to date. 73/100 [B]

I'm not a huge fan of Ti West's previous work and I was not interested at all in this film, also because the poster is kinda boring; but I like the cast so I decided to see it. It boasts a very talented cast that was also involved in the movie You're Next, such as: Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen and Amy Seimetz. The Sacrament left me very surprised and satisfied. In my opinion this is the first film directed by Ti West that is not boring. I enjoyed it so much, it is found-footage done well. In my opinion, The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers were two of the most boring horror films I've seen, of course they are good movies, but both of them have too many suspense and nothing interesting happens in 80% of their running time.

I've seen a lot of crappy found-footage movies this year and most of them sucked, such as: Alien Abduction, Delivery and Mr. Jones. Unlike them, The Sacrament is that rare found-footage film that succeeds. It has huge premise that is very well handled by this talented director. It's based on a true story called "The Jonestown Massacre" and that makes the film scarier. Of course it has some flaws especially in its second half, but the violence and the whole atmosphere of the film compensates for its flaws. I'm glad that I didn't know anything about this flick, I just pressed the play button without knowing anything about the plot and without watching the trailer, I recommend you to do the same.

The performances during the whole film were superb and believable; my favorite ones came from Gene Jones, AJ Bowen and the best one yet Amy Seimetz! There is actually a tense scene between two siblings, performed by Kentucker Audley and Amy Seimetz, it is one of my favorite scenes in the movie because it was shocking and realistic; the last 30 minutes are wickedly violent, without being too gory. I also like the production value, everything looks good and doesn't look cheap at all. One of the most notable things in The Sacrament is how mysterious and well developed were its characters. Also, "Father" performed by Gene Jones was annoying as hell but in a good way, he holds the greatest moments of the film.

It is thought-provoking at times, in its first half it makes you think about the way of how we live today's life with all those new technologies and stuff. I mean, it has some social commentary very well explained and all of this was quite interesting to me. I give it a 7/10 because it has some plot holes and the second half of the movie was kinda messy. Found-footage movies may be tiresome for some people but in this film this element is very well handled by West, and the presence of the camera is smart and has sense. The Sacrament is one of the best horror films of the year; it is not perfect at all but it shows the power of a leader and how far will he go. It takes to itself seriously and it is painful to watch at times. I really liked it, Ti West has a new fan. [B]
½ January 13, 2016
Not Ti West's best film but he does an excellent job when it comes to a switching story direction in a documentary film.
Also Joe Swanberg and AJ Bowen both knock it out of the park playing the journalists investigating Eden Parish.
January 9, 2016
Ti West can't fail :)
½ January 5, 2016
The concept and setting could have made for a great piece of movie, but it fails at executing its potential.
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