**Please note that there may be spoilers throughout the blog**
Really excited for this to come out on DVD/Blu-ray because Ti West puts a nice spin on the found footage genre and creates a very real and very grim film. In this movie, Ti West creates one of the most charming and sinister characters, "Father", who doesn't look or sound alarming but has such a firm hold of his congregation, that he can exploit them to any extreme that he wishes.
Caroline, who has fallen off the grid, contacts her brother Patrick, a reporter for "Vice" and asks him to come and visit her at the religious commune that she is living at on the other side of the world. So, Patrick and a couple of his "Vice" colleagues, Sam and Jake grab their gear and put the trip on the expense account hoping to get a great story.
Unfortunately, when they arrive half way around the world, they realize that they have bitten off more than they can chew, when they are met by armed guards at the gates. Luckily, Caroline gets there in time, cooler heads prevail and they are welcomed into the camp. Inside the camp, Caroline explains that this paradise was all created by one man, "Father". This is his dream and the are fulfilling god's wishes. Patrick and his friends ask if it's okay to do some interviews with the people in the commune and if it's possible to interview "Father"? Caroline takes off to ask and she quickly comes back and says it's all right. Caroline and Patrick leave to catch up, while Sam and Jake get settled in their cabin.
Sam & Jake explore the camp and talk to whoever will give them a few moments but the majority of the commune seem to shy away from them. The people they speak with seem happy and content with their living arrangements but Sam & Jake feel that there is an eerie vibe to the place. Will the "Vice" staff discover the secrets to Eden Parrish or will they lose themselves to the commune and forget the modern world?
This is a great looking DVD and sounds terrific as well. The commentary on the film is pretty interesting and includes Ti West, AJ Bowen and Amy Seimetz, who talk about about their feelings about going into the project, working on specific scenes and their reaction to the film when they eventually saw the whole thing put together. They also discuss working with Gene Jones, who played "Father" and his impact on the film, as well working with such a large number of extras, dealing with the producers, like Eli Roth and how much extra story their was before Mr. West got into the editing bay with it. If you are interested in the film business or you just like movies, this is a fascinating commentary to hear how a project can start and then get whittled down to tight 90+ minutes of terror.
Also, there are some great features on the disc, like a feature called "Creating the Sacrament: Revealing the Vision", which they talk to Ti West, the cast and the crew about how they put the project together. They discuss the location, how quickly the project seemed to snowball and how they were able to build the commune so quickly. Again, this is a fantastic look at how a project can get off the ground and it really recognizes the hard work of the people behind the camera.
As well as a feature called, "Preparing for Takeoff" and it's a behind the scenes look at how the helicopter scene was shot, which is cool to see. Also, there is a thing called, "Working with the Director: The Ti West Experience" which half of it is people just saying how much they like Ti West and unfortunately there isn't much talking about his style or how he conceptualizes projects. Just that they like Ti West and I guess I do too. Then there is the obligatory "AXS TV: Look at" which they have on all the Magnet discs when they do a quick, 2 minute commercial type packaging of clips and interview telling you to watch the movie you just bought.
For the most part the features are good but I was surprised the Gene Jones who was such a pivotal character in the film wasn't interviewed more. I would have loved to here more about how he saw the character and what he did to develop it. There is some Gene Jones in one of the features but it would have been really interesting to see where that cat was coming from when doing this film.
This is great DVD package from Magnet and VSC. This is Ti West's best film since "House of the Devil" and takes a fresh approach to the, lack of a better word, found footage genre. Like most of his films it a is a well paced film that has an unforgettable ending that you will wish that you could. This is a terrific film to add to any horror fans collection.