Metascore
49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Leigh Clark
    Jun 5, 2014
    80
    The found footage format has been milked to death of late... but here it's used to fully immerse the viewer, ensuring that the characters speak directly to the audience and, with the removal of the third wall, throws them straight into the lion's den to create maximum discomfort.
  2. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    Dec 10, 2013
    80
    It’s a film that purists might insist isn’t horror in the strictest sense, though this slow-burning investigation of unseemly goings-on at a rural Christian commune is frightening in any genre language.
  3. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Dec 10, 2013
    70
    It makes savvy use of the well-worn found-footage format, modulating its creepy scenario with considerable skill.
  4. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Jun 4, 2014
    67
    West is a talented director and knows how to build suspense. But here’s a case where the truth wasn’t only stranger than his fiction, it was scarier, too.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Jun 12, 2014
    63
    West’s film differs from the “Blair Witch” template in that the footage is never actually “found.”
  6. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Jun 6, 2014
    63
    West is such a technically accomplished filmmaker, and his cast of semi-regulars so committed to the narrative, that the resultant movie gives enough unsettling atmosphere and upsetting gut-level shock that this viewer didn’t mind too much all the stuff he wasn’t getting, such as intellectual coherence, not to mention any kind of profound insight into the cult hive mind.
  7. Reviewed by: John Semley
    Jun 5, 2014
    63
    The tension fizzles as The Sacrament narrows into predictability, indulging every cliché of found-footage filmmaking and Jonestown-styled cult apocalypticism.
  8. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Jun 1, 2014
    63
    With The Sacrament, director Ti West has bitten off more of a premise than his classically modest barebones approach to horror movies can presently chew.
  9. Reviewed by: Rob Staeger
    Jun 3, 2014
    60
    Restaging the 1978 Jonestown massacre for a present-day suspense movie is by most definitions tasteless, although The Sacrament infuses the past with ghoulish immediacy.
  10. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Jun 3, 2014
    60
    As with all of West’s work this is a good-looking, well acted film shot through with moments of real power, but its conventionality is troubling.
  11. Reviewed by: Oliver Lyttelton
    Dec 10, 2013
    58
    The tension really is beautifully ramped up in these early scenes and gets an audience well prepped to watch carnage unfold around people you've truly come to care about. Then, when the thing goes off, it's not with a bang but with something more like a a whimper.
  12. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Jun 12, 2014
    50
    The first half is a cautiously dread-inducing tour de force as the suspicious interlopers parse the shiny, happy members for signs of a darker version of paradise... The second half, however, when all hell breaks loose a little too quickly, is the disappointment.
  13. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    May 5, 2014
    50
    Because the film is meant to resemble documentary footage, West is forced to effectively “play dumb,” disguising his craftsmanship behind a lot of intentionally cruddy handheld camerawork. Still, that’d be less of a problem if the material he was gracelessly filming weren’t such run-of-the-mill claptrap.
  14. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    May 5, 2014
    50
    Its skillful execution of a bad idea doesn’t make the bad idea any better; in fact, the scrupulousness with which West and his crew evoke the past make the film that much more unsavory.
  15. Reviewed by: Greg Cwik
    Jun 5, 2014
    42
    The Sacrament is a missed opportunity to further expand West's pallet. Instead of twisting conventions and playing with expectations, West plays into expectations.
  16. Reviewed by: Mike McCahill
    Sep 22, 2014
    40
    Ti West's latest feels both more expansive – choppering Vice reporters into a seemingly progressive tropical utopia raises intriguing social themes – and yet a marked disappointment.
  17. 40
    I found parts of The Sacrament more effective than anything else he’s done to date, as it’s probably the least genre of his movies. But don’t tell West that; I’m pretty sure he still thinks he’s made a horror flick.
  18. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jun 5, 2014
    40
    Mr. West sets the scene reasonably well, ratcheting up a sense of unease with old-fashioned shadows and some nighttime scrambling, but he gets lost once he shifts from fooling around in the dark to recreating mass death.
  19. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jun 5, 2014
    40
    This sometimes-taut little thriller is sullied by its unnecessary masquerade as a documentary presented by HBO’s gonzo news show “Vice.”
  20. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jun 3, 2014
    40
    Only Jones seems most at home, striking just the right note of low-key malevolence. You’d follow him anywhere — maybe even into a better movie.
  21. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Dec 10, 2013
    15
    Ti West’s pointless new film The Sacrament, an exercise in talking loud and saying nothing, isn’t just bad, it’s infuriating.
User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Dec 30, 2014
    6
    It feels wrong to call this a waste of Ti West's talents, or at least the strengths he's shown so far as a director, but that's kind of how itIt feels wrong to call this a waste of Ti West's talents, or at least the strengths he's shown so far as a director, but that's kind of how it feels. A good chunk of that is the found footage aspect, although admittedly it does lend itself to slow burns quite well (West's specialty), but still, it just feels so prosaic and derivative. Gene Jones is perfection but the rest is mostly just, well broadly anti-personal. Full Review »
  2. Dec 27, 2014
    8
    This was a surprisingly good Netflix hidden gem. It's a very simple movie with lots of atmosphere and thrills, and cults just freak me out inThis was a surprisingly good Netflix hidden gem. It's a very simple movie with lots of atmosphere and thrills, and cults just freak me out in general. Recommended if you have Netflix. Full Review »
  3. Dec 8, 2014
    7
    Summary: Well acted and intriguing, The Sacrament is definitely Ti West's least boring horror film to date. 73/100 [B]

    I'm not a huge fan
    Summary: Well acted and intriguing, The Sacrament is definitely Ti West's least boring horror film to date. 73/100 [B]

    I'm not a huge fan of Ti West's previous work and I was not interested at all in this film, also because the poster is kinda boring; but I like the cast so I decided to see it. It boasts a very talented cast that was also involved in the movie You're Next, such as: Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen and Amy Seimetz. The Sacrament left me very surprised and satisfied. In my opinion this is the first film directed by Ti West that is not boring; I enjoyed it so much, it is found-footage done well. In my opinion, The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers are two of the most boring horror films I've seen, of course they are good movies, but both of them have too many suspense and nothing interesting happens in 80% of their running time.

    I've seen a lot of crappy found-footage movies this year and most of them sucked, such as: Alien Abduction, Delivery and Mr. Jones. Unlike them, The Sacrament is that rare found-footage film that succeeds. It has huge premise that is very well handled by this talented director. It's based on a true story called "The Jonestown Massacre" and that makes the film scarier. Of course it has some flaws especially in its second half, but the violence and the whole atmosphere of the film compensates for its flaws. I'm glad that I didn't know anything about this flick, I just press the play button without knowing anything about the plot and without watching the trailer, I recommend you to do the same.

    The performances during the whole film were superb and believable; my favorite ones came from Gene Jones, AJ Bowen and the best one yet Amy Seimetz! There is actually a tense scene between two siblings, performed by Kentucker Audley and Amy Seimetz, it is one of my favorite scenes in the movie because it was shocking and realistic; the last 30 minutes are wickedly violent, without being too gory. I also like the production value, everything looks good and doesn't look cheap at all. One of the most notable things in The Sacrament is how mysterious and well developed were its characters. Also, "Father" performed by Gene Jones was annoying as hell but in a good way, he holds the greatest moments of the film.

    It is thought-provoking at times, in its first half it makes you think about the way of how we live today's life with all those new technologies and stuff. I mean, it has some social commentary very well explained and all of this was quite interesting to me. I give it a 7/10 because it has some plot holes and the second half of the movie was kinda messy. Found-footage movies may be tiresome for some people but in this film this element is very well handled by West, and the presence of the camera is smart and has sense. The Sacrament is one of the best horror films of the year; it is not perfect at all but it shows the power of a leader and how far will he go. It takes to itself seriously and it is painful to watch at times. I really liked it, Ti West has a new fan. [B]
    Full Review »