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Sweet Juniper Jesus, Ti West’s Done It Again

June 28th, 2014 § Leave a Comment

What is “it” exactly? Take one of the horror niches and play it to a goddamn “T.” The absolutely perfect masterpiece HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, taking the 80s babysitter slasher and knocking it out of the park. Next, THE INNKEEPERS, providing a modernly sensible yet homage knowledgeable haunted house flick. Now, THE SACRAMENT, one of the best found footage horror films I’ve ever seen. Some would say I’m skipping V/H/S and THE ABCS OF DEATH, but those don’t count as a features in this auteur’s oeuvre.

First off, I want to pause and say how flipping sweet it is to be back with you. I’ve missed this gig, work and life and film selection circumstances have kept me from commenting on our selection as of late. Happy to share thoughts again with y’all.

Anyway, why is this film so good at the found footage horror genre? Well, I don’t want to give much away, but I don’t think there is really much to give away. Just from watching the trailer you can make a pretty educated guess as to what happens. The conceit of a VICE documentary crew coming to visit the next Jonestown motivates the above average camerawork. West’s masterful use of editing and music creates the tension, and Gene Jones as Father puts the icing on this eerie cake. That’s it, eerie. This is not a film of cheap thrills; this is West continuing to give true horror fans what they really want: to be deeply unsettled.

Yup, he's a creepy dude, doing his best John Goodman in BARTON FINK impression.

Yup, he’s a creepy dude, doing his best John Goodman in BARTON FINK impression.

Also lending cred to this film is West’s continued use of the cognoscenti of the indie scene. Not to be unnoticed by film fans is Joe Swanberg as one of the VICE crew, writer/director of such recent hits as 24 EXPOSURES and DRINKING BUDDIES. And don’t forget the girl who puts the in in “in”die, Amy Seimetz. Eli Roth has slapped his name on it, but that’s almost a deterrent for me and other horror purists. Sorry Roth fans.

Anyway, I could keep going on about it but this film really speaks for itself. Plus the first screening is starting up pretty soon at the GI. See it already!

—West is the best, don’t watch the rest, dan

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