DVD Review – Sacrament (2015)

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Lee and Blake are a young couple on a spring break trip to the Texan coast.Along with a motley crew of stoner friends their plans are blown off course by a storm- i can’t actually remember being referred to by any of the characters-and so they decide to stay the night in jewel of the Bible belt Middle Spring.

The religiously fanatical residents have a penchant for chomping enthusiastically on human flesh and are prone to serve up vast swathes of the taboo delicacy at church functions with absolutely no side order of qualms at all.Our contingent of drugged up youths wander blindly into this situation desperately suppressing their suspicion reflexes in the face of frantically earnest placation.

Like no other people their age they stoically reject their mobile devices as they stumble from set piece to set piece too scared to divert  their eyes from the action should they disappear down one of the massive plot holes forever.Like no other people their age they ask to fold their own sheets in a B&B and address everyone they meet as Sir and Ma’am and yet still they incur the vengeful wrath of the locals.

Initially this frustrating movie displays a refreshingly rebellious attitude.It seems to be striving to break down barriers and dispel clich├ęs in terms of casting and concept only to wholeheartedly reinstate and reinforce them through lazy plotting, lifeless dialogue and hackneyed genre tropes.

Director/writer Shawn Ewert and the rest of his crew are to be applauded for the enthusiasm and bravery they bring to the proceedings.It is only this don’t give a fuck attitude that stops the whole film sinking into a tar pit of indifference.I struggle to think of any other slasher film where the centerpiece relationship is two young homosexuals and the refusal to kowtow to the enforced body image of the mainstream is laudable.

The problem is the dynamic between stick in the mud Lee and whiny Blake,played by costume designer Troy Ford and newcomer Avery Pfeiffer respectively,is just not believable.Film maker Ewert has been in a same sex marriage for 9 years and it is with much trepidation that i humbly suggest it takes more than the repeated uses of “babe” and “really” and a plenitude of sarcastic bird flipping to create the illusion of screen chemistry.

The sex scene between the two was one of the most uncomfortable i have seen in years and not because it was two guys.I have after all seen Alain Guiraudie’s wonderful Stranger by the Lake and loved it.Lesbianism has long been a recognised staple of the exploitation movie scene and it was potentially ground breaking and cool to switch the stereotype.No it was the cheap and ham- fisted approach to their intimacy and the subsequently horribly acted punch line that made me cringe.

At one point in the movie curvy Lorri played by the gorgeous Amanda Rebholz is heard to be considering a less than inviting sexual proposition because “It’s not like there is a line of guys trying to get with me” totally contradicting the positive casting.

I’m sure that there are those that will argue that this is nothing more than a schlocky exercise in campy Herschell Gordon Lewis type frippery but it had potential to be so much more and that is whats so disappointing.Don’t break new ground if you only intend to piss on the cracks.It’s extremely unfortunate that this movies innovative choices and adventurous originality is also what undermines and ultimately derails it.

A final word of warning Sacrament is being heavily marketed as the final film of original final girl Marilyn Burns(The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) but in real terms it should be described more as her final scene so brief is her actual screen time.

[rating=2]
Bradley Hadcroft

Genre:Cannibal,Horror,Slasher | Distributor:Left Films | DVD Release Date:29 Jun. 2015(U.K.) | Rating :18 |Director :Shawn Ewert | Cast: Marilyn Burns, Cody Daniel, Stan-Lee Ray Baker | Buy: Sacrament [DVD]

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