The Sacrament (2013)

the sacrament poster 2013 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Gene Jones, Jonestown story

Not really a horror film, wish it was a real adaptation of Jonestown story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Sacrament

Studio:  Worldview Entertainment

Genre(s):  Horror/Drama

Release Date(s):  September 3, 2013 (Venice Film Festival)

MPAA Rating:  R


I am the WORD!

A documentary crew of Sam (AJ Bowen) and Jake (Joe Swanberg) follow Patrick (Kentucker Audley) to a secret community called Eden Parish to find his sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz).  In Eden Parish, they discover an independent society run by a man calling himself Father (Gene Jones) where society’s castoffs can live and thrive.  Sam, Jake, and Patrick suspect all is not well in Eden Parish and soon discover that the people are not free to leave.  When a revolution among Father’s followers begins, escaping the horror of Eden Parish could be impossible.

Directed by Ti West, The Sacrament is a found footage horror film.  The story is based on the story of the Jonestown Massacre and played off as a true story within the context of the film.  The movie did festival showings and received modestly positive reviews.


Don’t drink the Kool-Aid

Found footage movies often have problems…they generally don’t end well.  This movie has a bit of a better spin by having a camera crew actually shooting it instead of a yahoo with a camera running around for no reason.  As a result, though rather slow, The Sacrament works in a way.

Watching The Sacrament, you wonder why no one has actually made a movie about the Jonestown Massacre.  It was such bizarre and tragic twist in history that the story of Jim Jones and the 918 people who died in his compound the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana is horrifying…it feels almost weird to use it as horror fodder.

The odd thing about this movie is that it really isn’t a horror story.  There is a lot of horror in the death of all the people involved but there is very little horror aspect to the story.  They did put in a couple onscreen suicides to amp up the horror, but in general it slowly escalates to the mass suicide…and ends with little judgment or reflection.


Do you like my flaming twister trick?

I will say that Gene Jones does a great job as the leader aka Father of the cult.  He is very normal, unassuming, and feels very real in that sense.  I could see him being a cult leader because often you look at the leaders of cults, you wonder how anyone could follow them…but listening to Jones deliver his lines, he’s very slick and believable.

The Sacrament is not a great film but I found it better than a lot of the found footage films that are around.  Don’t go into the movie expecting a horror movie and terror…I found it wasn’t even as much tension as it could have been.  I found myself expecting an ironic twist since it was a horror film, and I did not get one.  The movie leaves me wanting a strong, hard look at Jonestown now that a number of years have passed…maybe we’ll get it someday, but until then, we get The Sacrament.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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