Disc Reviews

The Sacrament Blu-ray Review

Ti West is riding fairly high at the moment with his “X” trilogy at the moment, but back in 2013, he dabbled with the long take, hand-held, documentary-style horror (Not to be confused with Found Footage!  That, it is not).

A small news/documentary team get wind of a segregated group of people living out in the wilderness when the sister of one of their photographers contacts and invites him out to see her.  He grabs the main cameraman and the news anchor for the story to go out and investigate what is going on.

Upon arrival, the team start filming immediately and are met with varied responses from the locals of the land.  All stories and paths lead to a man known affectionately as “Father.”  The team set about getting access to him for an interview that might just shed light on what is going on and where the real dangers of the world may lie.

The Sacrement isn’t going to be news to anyone who knows about “Jonestown.” This is West’s attempt at telling a similar story about cult and sect-like behaviour among people. The documentary style lends itself to the storytelling and the tension as it mounts.

The film only really seems to falter slightly in its sudden change of gears just past the mid-point.  It seems like there could have been even more time spent building tension and having dialogue between the team and the illustrious “Father” before the film cascades into what it feels it must do rather abruptly.  This aside, it’s evidence of Ti West maintaining his mastery of horror and tension-filled cinema.

There is a slew of new interviews with several of the actors. A J Bowen has a lengthy half-hour interview and spares no details on his experience of making the film. Joe Swanberg has a shorter interview but has fun talking about playing a cameraman and having to do actual camera work on the film as part of the role.  Amy Seimetz is also engaging, clearly having a deep passion for being a filmmaker. Gene Jones (the Father) also gets a good-length interview to go into his role.

The producer charts his career in independent horror film, charted through a slew of movies with Ti West, supported by Larry Fessenden. There is also an audio essay on “truthiness” and Found Footage horror.

The almost hour-long making of is onset behind the scenes, and whilst the footage is raw, it’s actually perhaps the best insight here into how they did several of the set-ups. It’s also the most time you will get to see Ti West at work as he’s sadly missing from the interviews. But not a behind-the-scenes piece any budding filmmakers will want to miss.

This is yet another solid win for Second Sight.

Steven Hurst

Full content:

  • Indie Guys at Heart: A new interview with actor AJ Bowen
  • The Best Pathway: A new interview with actor Joe Swanberg
  • An Ecstatic State: A new interview with actor Amy Seimetz
  • The Itch to Act:  new interview with actor Gene Jones
  • A Wild Ride: A new interview with producer Peter Phok
  • Truthiness: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on The Sacrament
  • We’re Not Sinners Here: The Making of The Sacrament

Limited Edition Contents

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Chris Malbon
  • 70-page book with new essays by Anton Bitel, Kat Hughes, Rich Johnson and Beth Kelly
  • Six collectors’ art cards 

The Sacrament is out on June 24th

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