Whenever a group of young, sex-positive, somewhat arrogant teens hit the highway for any sort of reason, chances are it won’t end well for them. We’ve all seen enough horror movies to know better than that. But when that highway is right smack dab in the middle of fanatical freak country, and those teens include gays, stoners, the sarcastic and the heavily tattooed, well… let’s just say things actually will go a little bad-to-worse for them.
This is the tried and true horror premise for the indie horror Sacrament, not to be confused with Ti West’s cult thriller The Sacrament. But the film also brings in some originality by blending genre tropes (the film is a sweet mix of Texas Chainsaw, Red State, and The People Under the Stairs) and by disrupting the character set-ups we horror fans are used to.
It’s rare enough to have a “final guy” lead a horror film (which is a very different character role than the more traditional male horror hero) instead of a final girl. Films like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and Fright Night stand out because of their young male victims-turned-victors, but Sacrament goes beyond even this. It casts not only two men in the final girl role, but two gay men, which is genuinely something I haven’t seen before and enjoyed watching play out.
The change in character roles is the film’s biggest draw for me, but I can also speak to some quality gore effects (aka, better than what most indie horrors end up with) and a story that develops as if I were reading a Bryan Smith (House of Blood, The Killing Kind) slasher novel… and yes that;s a good thing.
Also excellent was being surprised at finding horror icon and scream queen Marilyn Burns (most notably Sally from TCM) here in one of her final roles before her death last year. Even better yet was seeing her on the other end of the blade this time.
In the essence of a fair review, I did have some issues with the movie’s dialogue, which goes hand in hand with how I felt like the film had the feel of a fiction horror novel. If the dialogue I noticed in the film was put to paper in a story, it would fit nicely. In a film though, it just seemed like whole sentences were too forced and “proper” for casual conversations. Personally, I think had all those extra words been chipped away at, the run time would have shortened enough to provide a smoother film overall.
Currently the film is still making its way through various festivals and working towards wider distribution. Anyone interested in further information can follow the film through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SacramentFilm) and Twitter @sinners4dinner. I recommend checking it out if you ever get the chance so you can appreciate not only a great indie effort, but a pretty cool shakeup to the horror formula.