Ti West's The Sacrament has garnered strong reviews.
While Ti West's latest horror movie The Sacrament is careful to declare that it's a work of fiction, anyone familiar with recent history will notice the strong similarities with real events in Guyana in 1978.
The Sacrament is Ti West's latest horror
Continue reading: Ti West's 'The Sacrament' Plays With A Truth Story
Yet another found-footage thriller, this chilling horror film at least has some solid roots as a fictionalised version of real events. The fact that something like this actually happened (on a vastly larger scale in 1978) gives the movie a lot of weight it might not otherwise have. And the realistic setting and grounded performances help sell the story.
It opens in New York, where hipster magazine reporter Sam (AJ Bowen) enlists cameraman Jake (Joe Swanberg) to travel with photographer Patrick (Kentucker Audley) to visit a mysterious commune called Eden Parish deep in a foreign woods. There Patrick's sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz) is working as the assistant for Father (Gene Jones), who has created a religious paradise far from the crime and greed of civilisation. Of course, the cynical journalists begin to wonder if anything can truly be this idyllic. And sure enough, before the end of the day someone hands them a note that says, "Please help us!"
While there are several potent issues gurgling throughout the story, filmmaker Ti West keeps the focus on the lean, mean scary-movie aspect, adding an atonal score to ramp up an underlying feeling of tension beneath the otherwise beautiful scenes of hippy parishioners living in peace. But the mask begins to slip, and things turn genuinely unsettling before breaking out into all-out nastiness. After the slow and involving build-up, what comes next feels rather a lot more staged. And grippingly terrifying.
Continue reading: The Sacrament Review
Small and earthy, this low-key drama simply follows a group of 30-ish characters as they use their friends to sort out their own issues. It's nicely played with a raw openness, although filmmaker Swanberg has a tendency to overdramatise scenes to make a point rather than letting things play out organically. Even so, it's sometimes painfully easy to identify with these flawed people.
The story is set around a small Chicago brewery, where Kate (Wilde) works in the office then hangs out after hours with the guys who make the beer. So she's often late arriving home to her music producer boyfriend Chris (Livingston). For a weekend away, Kate and Chris are joined by Kate's work buddy Luke (Johnson) and his girlfriend Jill (Kendrick). But as they hike in the countryside and hang out together, attraction springs up in all the wrong places. Back home, Kate and Chris decide to separate, while Jill heads off on a long-planned holiday on her own. And as Luke helps Kate put her life back together, their flirtation comes to a head.
In fine mumblecore style, this film meanders through its scenes focussing on conversations while skipping over some key moments that might have helped us understand things more clearly. It feels more like a slice of life than a plot-driven story, even though we can see early on that Kate and Luke are on a potentially messy collision course. Fortunately, both Wilde and Johnson bring offhanded honesty to their roles, creating realistically awkward interaction that bristles with possibilities. These are people at a specific point in life where they feel the need to settle down even as they're still exploring their options.
Continue reading: Drinking Buddies Review
A blogger at Toronto's film festival got in a bit of a flap when he saw mobile phones were being used during a screening of 'The Sacrament.'
Alex Billington took some time out his full time job of bragging about the fact he'd seen Gravity twice to take the law into his own hands against some shocking perpetrators. What could possibly have happened to make Billington not only summon the cinema's staff but also go as far as calling the police to report the bloodcurdling crime scene that was unfolding before him the Toronto International Film Festival showing of horror movie The Sacrament?
It Was During Ti West's Movie The Sacrament That The Blogger Called The Police.
Stating that "drastic measures were called for," Billington phoned the police after he observed other bloggers and journalists using their phones during the screening, according to the AP. His first port of call was the movie theater's managers but when told that "nothing could be done," the irate blogger (ironically) whipped out his own phone and called 911. He said that the emergency dispatcher laughed at his complaint which made him (ironically) take to Twitter and call out the crimes of the other cinemagoers to his followers.
Wildly over-praised by audiences desperate for a scary horror movie, this film has little more than the germ of a solid idea followed by a series of predictable cliches. It's a clever twist on the violent home-invasion scenario, fraught with family tensions and shifty characters. But the story develops without much sense of direction, and all of the scary bits are added in post-production through jolting editing and a freak-out sound mix.
It centres on a family gathering at a palatial summer home for the 35th anniversary of Paul and Aubrey (Moran and Crampton). All of their kids are here: Crispian (Bowen) is nervous about bringing his girlfriend (Vinson) to meet everyone, and his three siblings Felix, Aimee and Drake (Tucci, Swanberg and Seimetz) have also arrived with their respective partners (Glenn, Myers and West). The usual arguments are re-ignited at their first meal together, but they're quickly interrupted by a bigger problem: someone shoots an arrow through a window and begins picking them off one by one. As they are forced to work together, Erin rises to the challenge, leading the defence against the invaders.
The set-up is fairly simplistic, as the family members all have a sense of dread about this gathering, knowing that it's going to be tense. Then the fiendishly efficient attackers arrive, dressed like ninjas with animal masks, well-armed with knives, machetes, hatchets and cross-bows, plus booby traps to make the house itself a killing machine. None of this is very plausible, frankly. The actors aren't quite up to the challenge of making us believe the inter-relationships, and the plot is deeply contrived. The filmmakers seem determined to make a film without a single gun, which is intriguing until people pick up a tiny steak-knife to defend themselves when the handy baseball bat would be a lot more effective.
Continue reading: You're Next Review
When the Davisons decide to embark on a vacation to a remote getaway house with their family and friends to celebrate a wedding anniversary, everything seems so perfect, peaceful and undisturbed. However, when a crossbow arrow comes flying through the window killing one of the guests, they realise that their blissful weekend has turned into a deadly nightmare when it is revealed that three axe-toting murderers in animal masks have been stalking them for days, waiting for the right moment to butcher them one by one. What they hadn't banked on was that they would become the ones watching their backs when the most unlikely guest of all, Erin, starts hunting them down.
Continue: You're Next Trailer
Kate and Luke are co-workers at a craft brewery who have a remarkably close friendship where they never fail to make each other laugh and always have time for each other. There's definitely a spark, but Kate is in a semi-casual relationship with music producer Chris and Luke is contemplating marriage with his other half Jill. However, when the couples decide to spend the weekend together, Kate and Luke's similar personalities mean they end up with a lot of time on their own together, to the unease of their respective partners. It proves too much for Chris who thus decides to end it with Kate leaving her homeless and devastated. Luke and Jill agree to take Kate in until she finds a place of her own, but can she and Luke continue to keep their deeper feelings for each other buried in such close circumstances?
'Drinking Buddies' is a romantic comedy about the pain of heartbreak, confusion in affections and finding true love. It has been directed and written by Joe Swanberg ('LOL', 'Kissing on the Mouth') and made its premiere at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival. It will soon be released in US movie theatres on August 23rd 2013 and in the UK on November 8th 2013.