Sator (2019) Poster


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Minimal dialogue and sense
aeongale10 February 2021
Here's a film about men with beards and an old lady that hears voices. And some spooky stuff in the woods too. It's a good eerie setting and the silence works for tension building but character motives are never established. A lot of what is happening is implied. Maybe I missed a bit or a lot of the subtext. So while I could dismiss Sator as cryptic nonsense, it's very well made to string you along and is visually pleasing throughout, enough so that's it's an alright film overall.
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Deep and mystical if slow-burn folk horror effort
kannibalcorpsegrinder27 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Living alone out in the woods, a man welcomes his brother and his family out to visit, but when a strange series of encounters with strange beings out in the woods occur he comes to believe the old stories from his grandmother about an evil being living out in the woods and tries to stop it.

There was quite a lot to like in this one. One of the better elements to be had is the film's folk-horror leanings to build an enjoyable atmosphere present. With the vast majority of the film taking place in the woods, the idea of his routine as he goes about setting up in the woods gathering food, monitoring his residence or going out with his dog to keep his skill sharp before his brother comes to visit, the sense of isolation found here makes for an engrossing start since this normalcy is always tainted by ideas that something sinister is lurking just off-screen deep in the woods. As that woodland lifestyle grows more comforting, those ideas of something twisted living out there with him. The slow-burn approach here means that the creepy happenings, starting innocently with the dogs' disappearance and his grandmother's continued insistence that a being named Sator is in contact with her that can be written off as delusional rantings of a senile old-woman, they slowly start to tell a larger, darker story. Fueled by the demonic, barely audible whispers and strange feelings that something's in the woods, watching him, this makes for a rather enjoyable effort here as it feels as though the buildup is going somewhere. That also leads to the eventual outcome where the build-up finally pays off. Ignited by the nightmarish confrontation in the woods, there's a sudden and noticeable change of tone here where the film picks up speed and intensity in the series of encounters out in the woods. The sense of foreboding atmosphere in the woods is impressive and the snowfall creatures a picturesque look to everything, while the two attacks here are both chilling and creepy which are quite fun to see play out. Combined with the few brutal moments we get here that leave quite an impression and the twisted look of the demons, these are what work well for this one. That said, there are a few problems here. The main element that holds this one back is a dull and dreary pace that rarely allows anything to happen. Despite the slowly encroaching dread, this one never provides any energy to anything and is so laid-back and restrained in its delivery that it's possible to check out quite easily. As these scenes, from the brotherly relationship to the family dynamics that we get an idea about in their home-video flashbacks and simply wandering through their lives, just float on by with very little enthusiasm which put off a lot of viewers which is the main detrimental factor here.

Rated Unrated/R: Violence and Language.
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tmccull5211 February 2021
This film should have been entitled "Stupor" because that's what you'll be in by the time that anything remotely interesting happens.

If you're look for a moody, atmospheric cure for insomnia, then "Sator" is the movie for you. "Slow burn"? That is a galactically monumental understatement. Watching this movie is like watching a series of still photographs, shown in torturously slow succession, where there are only miniscule changes to the photographs as they're displayed. This film would have to be elevated several levels to attain the classification of boring.

I've been more interested and entertained watching the neighbor's dog taking a dump on my front lawn. You wait and you wait and you wait for something to happen... and it never does.

The only element of "horror" to this movie is the valuable time that you'll kill by watching it. Do yourself a service and pass on this waste of film and resources. I have rarely been more disappointed after watching a movie than I was after watching this dreck.
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Put to purification
nogodnomasters8 May 2021
Warning: Spoilers
The story centers on Adam (Gabriel Nicholson) who is looking for the Sator, a Wendigo like creature who lives in the woods. He listens to tapes of his Nani (June Peterson ) who now has dementia. She talks about the Sator using biblical language. Adam knows there will be a test, followed by suffering, and then purification. His mother had gone missing as well as his dog.

The picture was dreary. I had no idea what was going on in this garbled mess. It was real, it wasn't real. He family was crazy, he was crazy. Not much in the way of normal conversation. And where did they keep getting all those beers?

Guide: F-word. No sex or nudity.
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Brutally slow paced and pointless...
paul_haakonsen20 February 2021
I was lured in to watch "Sator" from the rather interesting and appealing cover the movie had. But, of course, you shouldn't judge a movie by its cover, which was very true in the case of this 2019 movie.

Sure, I hadn't heard about the movie prior to sitting down to watching it in 2021. And from the movie's cover, I believed I would be in for quite an enjoyable and entertaining horror movie. But no, instead I suffered through an incredible slow paced and pointless story. Truth be told, I couldn't even finish the movie. Yeah, it was that boring and tedious. And believe you me, I have absolutely no interest in returning to watch the rest of the movie, as I didn't care one ounce about the storyline or the characters in the movie.

This movie was a massive swing and a miss from writer and director Jordan Graham. Perhaps I was not in the target audience for this kind of movie, though I have been watching horror movies for about 37 years or so. But of course, not everything can be appealing and interesting, and "Sator" was one such movie.

The storyline told in "Sator" just offered absolutely nothing of interest for me, so it was quite the torture to sit through the movie, and to make matters worse, the fact that the movie was so slow paced and had literally nothing interesting happening, just added salt to the wound.

If you enjoy a proper atmospheric horror movie, do yourself a favor and give "Sator" a wide berth. Some of us suffered through this ordeal so you don't have to.

My rating of the 2019 movie "Sator", lands on a mere two out of ten stars.
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In the deep, dark woods...
halhewgley20 February 2021
Well if you're a "horror fan" but you tend to only watch the Freddy/Jason/Michael Myers movies over and over, this movie is not for you...

However, if you like movies like "The Witch", "Blair Witch Project" and can get into existential dread and supernatural horror, this creepy and cohesive movie will cast a spell on you and pull you in. Quite a bit is left unknown, and quite a bit is a puzzle so there is some work on behalf of the viewer. You can't merely just watch with your loud bros and throw your popcorn up in the air and scream and giggle when the next jump scare happens.

The acting is minimal and emotive. Most of the dialogue comes from Nani/Grandma who doesn't merely act, she IS the character. You'll see what I mean. To me, this is the creepy heart of the movie.

Visually it's dark, dreary, atmospheric and full of doom with Pagan references and a dash of what I would call a rustic, Cascadian Black Metal aesthetic. I loved the raw, minimal grit of the cinematography which is really well done. Also, I suggest watching with headphones in order to get the whole quiet is loud vibe of the film. The sound design is spot on as well.

For me, a longtime and avid horror fan, very rarely do I find the kind of movie that I wished I had made. It goes up there with my classics. Sator is one that I would recommend to fans of existential dread, atmospheric horror, and people that love to be creeped out. Not "boo!" jump cut scared, but genuinely creeped out when you go to bed and then the movie lingers in your thoughts the next day. I loved Sator. I watched it last night and I think I want to watch it again today.
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PedroPires9013 February 2021
I think you probably can enjoy this if you take 10 double espressos.

Interesting atmosphere. That's it. I totally believe that people who create this all-artsy horror films are the same people who pay 1000£ for a meal in a gourmet restaurant. Very pretty, but in truth, your mum's food tastes much better.

And what a waste of a very interesting cinematography and creatures design. 😴
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All style no substance like a story, Acting, directing, you know making a decent a Movie!!
joiningjt7 July 2021
Sorry critics are giving this a higher score than the conjuring what ever they're smoking I'll invest my life savings into!! This film is a 4 only for the creepy woods cinematography . The story is downright stupid with no saving grace at all. The acting is mediocre at best and it made no sense at all. There are 3 scenes of some action otherwise it's people looking at each other. If you like watching trees grow and then watching paint dry this is for you.
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Brutally dull.
cruise0110 November 2021
.5 out of 5 stars.

Sator is one of the worst horrible films ever. Its dull. Dread. And slow. If its way of getting scares is by boring the viewers. It definitely works. Plot is dull. Barely any dialogue. Or scares.
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Incredible atmospheric and visually stunning
manuelasaez3 March 2021
This is an art house horror film, let's get that right out there. It has minimal dialogue, minimal jump scares, and everything is deliberately slow and filled with growing tension. But man, does this movie build some tension. Everything about this film is crafted by a true auteur, and why wouldn't it be? The fact is that this film was made by one man. One man is responsible for directing, the script, the costumes, the SFX, the gorgeous cinematography. Heck, even the cabin was built by him! Name one other creative force in film that is capable of creation a film of this artistic caliber on his own.

That being said, although this movie is incredibly slow, if you stick with it, you will be graced by some absolutely breathtaking cinematography that shows the beauty of the Californian woods and mountains. While it is creepy in spots and does have a few jumó scares, everything comes to a disturbing head during the final act that had me engrossed until the bitter end.

I was thoroughly impressed by this film and I eagerly await anything else this man will create. I was inspired watching it. Really great stuff (if you enjoy art house horror, that is).
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Eerie but lame script
NickKnack686 December 2021
The whole "let the audience figure it out" thing is getting played out. Here's a film that's very well shot and features a constant sense of dread, is as spooky as it gets, BUT ... the script is nearly non existent and the pacing will test anyone's patience. Seriously. Enough with the "this will reward patient viewers" nonsense. Hire a script writer FFS.
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Like the best Black Metal album made film
juboy7011 February 2021
As the reviews here clearly highlight, this is not a film for everyone. It's a very slow burn but every second reeks of atmosphere and simmering dread. The cinematography is strikingly beautiful and the sound design has been similarly carefully composed. Death, insanity, the occult, bleakness and an unsettling eeriness run through this film at an unrelenting level. This is true horror, rather than the dayglo blood & cheesy one-liner variety. Very interested to see what the director does next.
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Fever dream of atmospheric tension and isolationism.
MK_Ultra_11 February 2021
Unsettling as it is challenging. Beautiful as it is uniquely disturbing. This is a film few may get on the surface--- unless you've seen a few ambiguous types of horror--- where the layers of reality versus what is channeling levels of occultism, possibly brought on by family's mental illness? Or is it reality... Everything is blurred just enough where the viewer isn't entirely let in, until, that is, the timelines begin to intersect.

This film delivers on just about every level of what is a true auteur making his vision of what is true to himself, and not bowing to tropes or studio pressure.

Immerse yourself into Grahams story and not only will it terrify, it delivers. Hagazussa was a recent film that delivered in a similar fashion for me, both with cinematograpic excellence and an underlying low-end drone backscore that defines what is a true sense of dread throughout. This is not for the fan of traditional or nu-horror, but one of film independence, bringing atmosphere like few can, and staying true to your vision with a tale that keeps the viewer engrossed while nothing is quite clearly defined. This is a true masterwork that some will truly appreciate (read it took 6 years to make), and some will have difficulty with. This felt like a film that was made for me. It's exactly what I want in horror.

Solid and taut directing that has me wanting more from Jordan Graham.

9.5 stars.
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domsmail15 February 2021
Ok you can be confusing, but not this confusing. The lack of dialogue, strange time jumps, and very opaque characters takes whatever this was supposed to be and makes it so confusing and illogical that it no longer resembles an actual plot and more of an impossible question along the lines of "How many colors of the alphabet does it take to taste math? Left or right?"
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Slow Burn
yusufpiskin25 February 2021
Part 'Blair Witch', part Lynch and a little bit of last years 'The Dark And The Wicked'. This one will be a divider among fans of horror but i for one loved it. An incredible technical feat (the worst shot in this movie which was made by literally one person looks better than anything my mortal enemies the Russo brothers have ever filmed), as well as a solid piece of perverse and haunting minimalist horror. My main reservation about it is that as much as I like this kind of oblique storytelling I do wish this screenplay had just the tiniest bit more meat on its bones. Not narratively, but thematically.
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Atmospheric, Low-Budget Horror Film
Reviews_of_the_Dead22 June 2021
This was a movie that I got turned on to thanks to podcasters. I saw this on a list of films that were getting released in 2021. There are some people's who opinions I respect talking highly of this, including my friend Tim from Facebook and Duncan from The Podcast Under the Stairs. I actually got to hear an interview with the writer/director Jordan Graham on a couple of different shows, which intrigued me even more. To get into this, the synopsis here is secluded in a desolate forest; a broken family is observed by Sator, a supernatural entity who is attempting to claim them.

We start this movie off with an interesting scene. Someone is pouring a liquid on a person lying down. They are then set on fire. It then shifts over to the character we're following for most of this, Adam (Gabriel Nicholson). He's living in a cabin in the woods. He goes out shooting beer bottles with a rifle and seems to be hunting something along with his dog. There is a call he is using while also checking a trail camera. There doesn't seem to be anything on the images it is taking though.

The movie then introduces us to his family. He has a brother of Pete (Michael Daniel) along with his sister Deborah (Aurora Lowe). They visit quite a bit with their grandmother, Nani (June Peterson). What is interesting here is that she is playing herself. She is the real life grandmother to Graham and the basis of this story is from her automatic writings she did and encounters she had with an entity that spoke to her named Sator.

As the synopsis states, this family is broken. Adam seems to have lost his wife. I didn't pick up if she left him or she passed away, but he's distraught. Adam has isolated himself after whatever happened to her. Pete is struggling himself and Deborah is doing all she can to keep the family together. This family knows tragedy as their grandfather, Jim, passed away along with their mother.

When they're visiting with Nani and she is telling them stories, Adam is told by his brother that he thinks the error with taking pictures with the trail cam is with the memory card. He swaps it out with another one and it takes an eerie image of the trees and darkness. This is an image that is haunting Adam's dreams along with other things. He thinks he finally got Sator's attention as well when he is visited by a creepy entity. The question is, did he really meet Sator or is this all in his head? Does Nani also really communicate with this being as well?

That is where I'm going to leave my recap. This movie doesn't have the most complex story, but it also doesn't need it. What this movie does have though is atmosphere. Going back to the synopsis, we have this family that all of them live outside of town. I can understand this as I grew up for the second half of my childhood in the country. Not this far out, because here Adam is legit living in a cabin in the woods. The rest of the family isn't that much better. There aren't a lot of people around, it is dark at night and I mean really dark. Not living in the city dark. This really helped to make it even creepier when things happen or characters go into the woods to investigate.

What makes it even scarier for me is that Graham based all of this off what his real life grandmother of Peterson stated. She claimed that after a séance in the late 1960s, she was visited by an entity called Sator. It would speak to her and she had journals and journals of auto-writing from this. She stated that he would speak directly into her mind. I do believe from an interview that he confirmed she ended up being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Graham also said other family members had a similar mental illness and that they also confirmed speaking with Sator. There are actual interviews with Nani here recounting what she believed to be real. There are also real recordings of her and her actual journals are used. This gives it a good touch that he decided to make this movie based off something she really thought was happening to her and actually uses really documentation from her does as well. I'm thinking this is more mental illness, but for a movie it adds a creepiness factor.

Where I want to take this next would be the two options to explain what is going on here. The first would be that there is really a supernatural entity in these woods. I actually think for this movie is really what we getting here. It was quite creepy to see these figures in animal furs, wearing the skull of a deer. They don't speak. They really just stand there and stare. It was definitely effective for me. Once Adam looks more into the picture that he took with the trail cam, it really starts to ramp up as well. Where it goes in the third act was effective.

The other explanation would be that it is mental illness. Adam is dealing with some heavy things and he's isolated himself in the woods. It really seems that whenever he sees something, he's alone. He has been listening to the stories from Nani and knows what happened with his mother. He so desperately wants Sator to be real so he is descending into madness. I can see someone giving a reading of this movie to be in line with this theory.

I would say that is the extent of story that I want to delve into would be more with the atmosphere. The first aspect here would be the cinematography. I thought that Graham shot the heck out of this movie. The isolation of the woods is something that you can feel. It looks beautiful. There is also some surreal sequences and shots. There is ones where everything is black and there is just a fire burning or seeing Adam in white. This really helps to make it seem like we aren't sure what is real and what isn't. There is also some good editing here. I like that there was black and white footage shot, then real home movies that add another level of realism.

The other aspect here would be the sound design and soundtrack. This is something else that Graham did. He utilizes whispers that make the shots that aren't scary feel that way. He actually made all the music and not all of it is with instruments. I found this to be pretty interesting as well for how it fits with the vibe this movie really needs to have. I was really impressed to be honest.

Then next I think I'll shift this over to the acting. Nicholson has an interesting performance. He really doesn't talk much. He does look intense with his facial expressions and there is real fear on his face as well. Daniel is solid as Pete. He really interacts with Nani which is nice to see, even though he's not related to her in real life. Rachel Johnson adds another creepy level as Evie. Lowe is solid as the sister and Taylor in her limited role as the mother. Then finally we have Peterson. She is really just playing herself which almost has a documentary feel to it. I did enjoy that. The last thing here would be those that play the entities in the woods. Their look and how they don't really say anything is creepy.

The last thing that I want to go into would be the effects. There aren't a lot of them and I'm assuming part of this is due to budget. This is a movie though that I believe Graham knew the limitations so he didn't need a lot of effects. What we do get was done well. There are some tricks with camera angles and cinematography which really help here as well. What we get is well done regardless.

So then in conclusion here, this is a movie that I'm glad that I saw. It doesn't have the most complex story, but it also doesn't need it. What is really interesting is that it is based on the real writings and beliefs of Graham's grandmother. Incorporating some of the real material really adds a layer here. The acting is good in helping bring this to life. What effects we get here are as well. The atmosphere is really a strong part with the cinematography, location and sound design along with the music selections. If I did have an issue, I do think the story could be tightened up just a bit. Regardless, I like the concepts we are exploring and this is one that I'll rewatch before the end of the year to see if I might have missed something as well as see how this holds up after a second watch.
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Mount Rushmore of worst horror films ever
petarilic329 October 2021
I profoundly regret watching this. It's definitely in top 10, maybe even top 5 worst movie I've ever seen.

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING going on. I kept waiting for this "slow burn" to turn into somehting.. yet it never did. It's not even a slow burn, that would be an insult to slow burn flicks, it's just pointless.

Everything is darker than black, it surpasses that episode in Game of Thrones season 8. You can't see what's going on 95% of the time but that's good because nothing happens anyway!

With pleasure - 0/10.
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fatamorgana-4020816 September 2021
I was really looking forward to this one as the trailer looked very intriguing. Mood, atmosphere and idea were all very good. But it was soooo took too long for anything of interest to happen and when it finally did, it was too late to care.
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A Boring Hell
rodrigoalderete3 March 2021
I really try to enjoy this movie. The photography is very Pro, the editing and the technical aspects are good enough. THE PROBLEM: Theres is no story at all, no plot, no tension and terrible FLAT. You hear a tape recording voice over and over talking nonse over and over (maybe this is the most creepy element). I better watch The Blair Witch Project instead.
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Pretentious and just terrible
nick_holloway23 May 2021
People here saying 'if you only like xyz, then you wont like this'.

No, its actually possible to enjoy well made slow burn psychological, dread, etc etc horror movies like the witch, and others. While simultaneously thinking this movie is pretentious garbage that was boring, terribly written, acted, etc.

Wish i could give a 0.
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Loved it
tonyandsilvia199418 April 2021
As other reviewers have written, this is not for everyone. If you want jump scares, blood and guts and gore, look elsewhere. There is a distinct lack of dialogue which only adds to the unnerving atmosphere.

It is a beautifully shot, atmospheric slow burner of a movie. I watched it with headphones on and really benefitted from hearing the whispers and mutterings up close and personal. I'm glad I did.

There will be studio pictures that will spend million on trying to replicate the feel and creepiness of this movie, and will fail. The true story element (Nonny) was genuinely creepy, primarily due to her being so natural.

Highly recommended.
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Started off interesting but then fell flat
pass275-895-47340010 February 2021
Everyone wants to be The VVitch, or Hereditary but fall short. I respect the low budget-ness, but just no pay off.
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haidarharbi28 December 2021
Warning: Spoilers
The storyline told in "Sator" just offered absolutely nothing of interest for me, so it was quite the torture to sit through the movie, and to make matters worse, the fact that the movie was so slow paced and had literally nothing interesting happening, just added salt to the wound.
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HOW is this rated a 5? Warning: Spoilers
Ok- I just finished watching Sator. This is an absolute masterpiece. I get the low ratings somewhat: you probably expected a lot of jumpscares and fast paced horror. This film is the complete opposite of that. It's slow and creeping, and it gets under your skin before you know it. If you like the atmospheres of the Blair witch project, VVitch, Ari Aster, folklore from northern Europe and America, and art house horror, this is a must watch.

There are a few key points that really made me love Sator:
  • It's a harrowing story about mental illness and how it can ruin an entire family. Doing a little research about how and why this movie was made stunned me.

  • It perfectly captures the feeling of being trapped. Adam and his family seems to be unable to escape their situation; the forest, the legacy of the family, the demon that follows (or, more likely, the schizophrenia).

  • The strangeness that families can harbour. Watch this if you like stories about weird relationships.

Honestly, if you're a horror aficionado like me, you will probably like this. To sum it up: it's a quiet and painstakingly crafted little piece that is worth all its time. You won't find something like this easily.

(There are also some things that I didn't like, of course. What's in the jar that they keep smelling? How are the brothers who live out in the woods so clean and relatively well-kept in appearance? What happened to the dog? Minor things though.)
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Love the cinematography and yea, that's all
baka_land2 March 2021
Dude doesn't talk and the other one intentionally talks in a way, you can't understand what he's saying. I love slow pace/atmospheric horror but this is just slow without substance, there was no twist, you kinda know what's gonna happen in the end.
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