In 1983, financially struggling college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret, putting her life in mortal danger.
Two best friends see their trip of a lifetime take a dark turn when one of them is struck by a mysterious affliction. Now, in a foreign land, they race to uncover the source before it consumes him completely.
An investigation into a government cover-up leads to a network of abandoned train tunnels deep beneath the heart of Sydney. As a journalist and her crew hunt for the story it quickly becomes clear the story is hunting them.
Searching for a missing student, two private investigators break into his house and find collection of VHS tapes. Viewing the horrific contents of each cassette, they realize there may be dark motives behind the student's disappearance.
The journalist Patrick works at the VICE, a company dedicated to cover bizarre news. When his sister Caroline joins a community, she travels abroad with her new family. Out of the blue, Caroline invites her brother to visit her in an undefined country and Patrick travels by helicopter with his friends Jake and Sam that work with him at VICE. They find weird that the men that have come to guide them to the Eden Parish have guns. On the arrival to the camp, Patrick, Sam and Jake find a community of happy people that worship Father. They interview Father but soon they realize that people are not as happy as they seem to be. Further, they find that they are trapped in the Parish Eden and they want to leave the place with the newcomers. But the Father does not have intention to let them go.
We all know the story of Jonestown where a charismatic nut created a cult and made everyone drink poisoned Kool-Aid by promising greatness in the afterlife. Now Ti West tackles the subject matter along with the non-dying format of found footage to bring us a well made and entertaining, but ultimately routine horror thriller.
Good: The performances overall are good. AJ Bowen is good, Joe Swanberg does good, and the man they hired to play the leader of the cult named "Father" was great as he had that natural charisma that would make him believable in playing the role of a leader. I liked the set up and how it rose the tension until the climax and I appreciate the lack of cheap jump scares that litter these kinds of movies. There's some good moments of violence thrown in as well.
Bad: Unfortunately, it all ends up being very routine. The story never deviates into any surprises and if you are someone familiar with Jonestown, then this shouldn't be anything new. While the movie sets up the premise in good fashion, I personally felt it lacked true tension or scares. I felt like it was going through the motions of what a cult film or a found footage film would do and even the found footage angle I found unnecessary.
Overall, it is by far Ti West's weakest film as it lacks anything memorable that makes it stand out. A competent found footage movie, but nothing more.
17 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?