In recent years dramatic features like Martha Marcy May Marlene and Kill List, and even documentaries like The Source Family, have seemed to have started a movement that has brought the subject of cult to the forefront of movie thrillers. Perhaps the zombie craze and the vampire craze are finally over, and the next big thing is going to be films of all sorts that tap into the fringe groups of the late 60s and early 70s for inspiration. If we get a misguided movie aimed at tweens where a bookish young girl comes out of her shell after starting an unlikely romance with her school’s dreamy Charles Manson-type, we’ll know we’ve stumbled into a full-on trend.
Before the movement can reach its mainstream peak, however, we’ve probably still got some room for a couple more artistically-driven filmmakers to make a couple more legitimately creepy movies about cults, and to that end modern horror master Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) is getting ready to release his next feature, The Sacrament.
It’s a found-footage affair about a group of documentarians visiting a cult called Eden Parish, and getting more than they bargained for. Click through to get a glimpse of the carnage, but be warned, the red-band before this trailer only seems to be there because of a little bit of blood and destruction, so don’t expect anything too gruesome to be given away.
For fans of indie horror, yes, the actors appearing here are AJ Bowen, Amy Seimetz, and Joe Swanberg, who all worked together on You’re Next and in different combinations on a number of other things you probably know. And for the eagle-eyed, yes, the guy who’s playing the cult leader here is also the same guy who played the elderly gas station owner so memorably in No Country For Old Men. His name is Gene Jones, and it seems like he’s something of a badass.
It’s true that found footage horror isn’t really the most beloved genre for most film fans, but it would seem like this one will be separated above the rabble a bit by strong acting, and from the tone this trailer takes, one can assume that the film will also benefit by sticking to the slow-burn style of storytelling that has made West’s other films not only feel like throwbacks to the golden age of horror, but that has also just made them really effective movies. Making audiences squirm is more about building their anticipation that they’re going to see something horrific than it is about actually showing them something horrific. Every new movie that comes along that gets that always ends up feeling like a breath of fresh air.
The Sacrament is set to get a VOD release on May 1 and then start appearing in theaters on June 6. Here’s a new poster that’s been made to promote the film, if you happen to be a poster person.