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The Sacrament: Found Footage Horror Film by Ti West | Second Sight Limited Edition Review

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A team of VICE news reporters follow their friend looking for his missing sister to a religious compound where they run into danger.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The Sacrament is a 2013 found footage horror film written and directed by Ti West (Pearl, X). A. J. Bowen and Joe Swanberg play VICE journalists Sam Turner and Jake Williams who shoot a documentary while they follow their friend Patrick (Kentucker Audley) to Eden Parish, a utopian, drug-free, racially harmonious religious compound only accessible by helicopter where Patrick’s recovering addict sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz) has been living. On the search for Caroline, the group discover Eden Parish run by a charismatic and enigmatic religious leader called Father (Gene Jones) who has the residents enthralled. They are greeted at once by machine gun wielding men guarding the sole road in and out of the community and find themselves uneasy, especially after Sam’s very confrontational interview with father.

The first feature film by Ti West, The Sacrament might have been a horrifying tale of religious cults run amok, a suspenseful journey into the unknown with a violent twist, were it not for how heavily – shamelessly so – that the story takes from the real tragedy of the Jonestown Massacre, which took place in Guyana in 1978. There have been numerous documentaries and films about the incident more effectively. A simple search on the term “Jonestown” on IMDb will show you just how many movies, TV mini-series, and documentaries there are going all the way back to 1979.

The actors in The Sacrament do an excellent job, however, especially Gene Jones, who is at once disturbing and disarming. Despite the good performances, however, there is not enough meat on the bones of this horror entry. West does not veer far enough away from the established truth of Jonestown, so it is just a remastering of what actually happened, which begs the question, what is the point?

Purchase The Sacrament (Limited Edition) on Amazon UK

  • 
AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg in The Sacrament (2013)
  • AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, and Kentucker Audley in The Sacrament (2013)
  • Joe Swanberg in The Sacrament (2013)
  • The Sacrament (2013)
  • The Sacrament (2013)
  • The Sacrament (Limited Edition) (Second Sight)
  • The Sacrament (Limited Edition) (Second Sight)

The Video

The Sacrament was shot on a Canon C300 in HDCAM format. Given this HD digital camera source, the film on this Blu-ray in 1.78:1 AVC 1080p almost looks organic, perhaps through a hint of digital noise mixed with some post-production “grain” added to take the cold, digital edge off the image as well. The detail is fairly good, though not totally crisp. There is not enough to expose the minute details on clothing or every crevice on a face, but it hardly looks soft. Color is natural, but dynamic range is somewhat limited and white levels have a tendency to blow out just a little. Overall, however, this is a satisfying transfer given the source and budget of this film.

The Audio

The Sacrament comes with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and optional English SDH subtitles. The mix works for the film with clear dialogue and a lush bit of atmospherics in the surrounds like birds and the din of the camp. The sound of the voice of Father over the encampment’s loudspeaker system is often panned way off to the sides and reverberates through the channels. The low end is not much to speak of. There is a little bit of punch in lower registers during some scenes with gunfire, but this mix certainly will not set your subs on fire.

The Supplements

Second Sight loads this limited edition release with an excellent selection of essays, art cards, and beautiful packaging, plus the new interviews with cast and crew. The only thing missing here is an audio commentary, but an excellent visual essay from Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on the “truthiness” of the film is certainly worth watching.

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

Bonus Features:

  • Indie Guys at Heart: An Interview with Actor AJ Bowen (1080p; 00:30:18) (NEW)
  • The Best Pathway: An Interview with Actor Joe Swanberg (1080p; 00:10:02) (NEW)
  • An Ecstatic State: An Interview with Actor Amy Seimetz (1080p; 00:14:47) (NEW)
  • The Itch to Act: An Interview with Actor Gene Jones (1080p; 00:13:18) (NEW)
  • A Wild Ride: An Interview with Producer Peter Phok (1080p; 00:25:25) (NEW)
  • Truthiness: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on The Sacrament (1080p; 00:10:47)
  • We’re Not Sinners Here: The Making of The Sacrament (1080p; 00:59:03)

The Final Assessment

This is another excellent Second Sight limited edition release loaded with bonus features and a top-notch transfer. The film is a mid-tier horror, but fans of Ti West’s work may be interested in seeing his debut feature film nevertheless.


The Sacrament (Limited Edition) is out in the UK 28 June 2024 from Second Sight Films

Purchase The Sacrament (Limited Edition) on Amazon UK


  • Rating Certificate: UK-18
  • Studios & Distributors: Worldview Entertainment | Arcade Pictures | Second Sight Films
  • Director: Ti West
  • Written By: Ti West
  • Run Time: 99 Mins.
  • Street Date: 28 June 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH
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A team of VICE news reporters follow their friend looking for his missing sister to a religious compound where they run into danger. The Sacrament: Found Footage Horror Film by Ti West | Second Sight Limited Edition Review