Filmed “mockumentary” style much in the same way as recent fave Lucky Bastard. The Sacrament follows VICE magazine journalist and photogs on a trip to a commune to see Eden Parish a commune/cult previously guarded in secrecy that quickly finds them in a fight for their lives.
As the Mummy said “a good cast is worth repeating”
Amy Seimetz is Caroline. True believer who encourages her brother and VICE mag to visit. She played Aimee in You’re Next. AJ Bowen (who has lost considerable weight) who played Crispian and Joe Swanberg who played Drake from You’re Next play the interviewer and photographer.
Ti West directed the Sacrament and starred as Tariq in You’re Next. Kentucky Audley (who starred in Amy’s directorial debut Sun Don’t Shine) plays her fashion photog brother. Eli Roth (Hostel) “presents” this.
It’s all connected. Giving work to your talented friends is always a good choice.
Visually this movie is impressive. It’s shot in perfectly to be very quintessential “hipster/journalist/highbrow/trendy swagger. AJ Bowen nails it. Gene Jones gives me the creeps as the well spoken and exceedingly charismatic cult leader. Bowen’s Sam becomes concerned about the well being of the commune’s members even though most of them are happy. He’s granted an interview with The Father, who gets defensive about the story that Sam is trying to spin. Sam has found out that the followers have given their life’s savings (which is a little silly, since many interviewed said that the Father saved them from a life of crime, addiction and poverty) and after the face to face, Sam receives a note saying “Please Help Us” from a young girl.
The trio of journalists are set to leave the next morning, but Sam tries to bring the young girl with them. The Father sees that he and his cult will be negatively exposed and police will be involved so he shoots the helicopter pilot (who implausibly waits for the VICE crew while bleeding out. nonsense) and then Jake and Sam end up in a fight to save their asses while the Father encourages his followers the take “the last sacrament” and sends gunmen to finish the job.
The set up is long. LONG.
But worth it.
The film is based on 1978’s real life Jonestown Massacre and cult The People’s Temple. Jim Jones, upon figurig out that he was going to be exposed called followers to his settlement in Guyana. People were set working long hours in crowded living conditions. While some wished to be there and living off the land, there was no changing your mind. Jones wouldn’t allow anyone to leave and was an egomaniac. Instead of edgy reporters visiting, it was congressman Leo Ryan, NBC crew and concerned family members. One of the NBC crew was handed a note with names of people who wanted to leave and were prisoner. They tried to leave, Ryan staying behind (as Sam did) to make sure that members weren’t hurt. But then they were attacked at the airport. Jones convinced them that the US government would come in and punish them.. the only way out would be poison punch.
based on a true story with excellent modern touches and a recognizable but not obnoxiously famous cast? I dig.