Thursday, October 2, 2014

As Above, So Below and The Sacrament - A Movie Post

It might seem, because of my lack of movie posts so far, that maybe I haven't been doing my civic duty as a horror fan in watching recent horror releases. You would be mistaken. I have, however, been somewhat meh about the ones that I've seen of late.

Miffed that I'd missed more than one horror release at the theater already, we hit the theater opening day to see As Above, So Below. The trailer promised a movie set in France's notorious catacombs and as such it did deliver.

Buuuut the setting was the best part.

The movie is set around the search for the philosopher's stone, a premise that would have been intriguing had it not felt like an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink hodge podge of world mythology rolled into one story. The characters go on something of a Davinci Code scavenger hunt for clues that eventually lead them to the catacombs where weird stuff starts ensues.

I left the theater with truly mixed feelings. On the one hand, with so little to choose from in the genre of late, I felt almost obligated not to dislike this movie. And yet, I was so underwhelmed and disappointed that I just couldn't force myself to be happy about simply having seen a horror movie in general.

That brings me to The Sacrament, the latest film from Ti West.

West is known for his seventies style House of the Devil, which I quite enjoyed. He's also the director who brought us Innkeepers and The Roost, amongst others. Both of these were ok, I didn't hate them but they definitely didn't live up to the expectations set by House.

So now we have The Sacrament, a movie about a group of journalists who travel to a remote and secret location to find Eden Parish. The Parish is led by an enigmatic leader called Father and is supposed to be a perfect community for his followers, one of whom happens to be the sister of one of the journalists.

And yet, the facade on Eden Parish is thin. The three men soon realize that there's something odd about the Parish even before the shit begins to hit the fan.

Yes folks, considering I was not even a thought in my parents' minds when it happened it did take me til the Kool-Aid scene to realize that The Sacrament is basically the story of Jim Jones and Jonestown.

I actually wasn't terribly disappointed by The Sacrament but I also didn't really walk away from it thinking of it as a horror movie per se. Yes, it is horrific and shocking. Yes, those are two elements of a horror movie, I know. It just didn't hit the spot as far as my horror craving was concerned.

I should point out both of these movies employ the increasingly aggravating found footage gimmick. I hate, loathe, and completely despise found footage films. I've never really liked them but each new movie released using this particular approach pushes me even further to my limit. I'm close to the point of simply turning off the next one without even giving it a shot. I find it highly likely that I would have enjoyed both of these movies more - maybe still not chalked them up as favorites - had they not been shot this way.

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