24th Sep2021

‘Sacrilege’ VOD Review

by Jim Morazzini

Stars: Emily Wyatt, Tamaryn Payne, Naomi Willow, David English, Ian Champion, Jon Glasgow, Emma Spurgin Hussey, Rory Wilton | Written and Directed by David Creed

Sacrilege begins with a man running screaming from a darkened house. He fumbles with his car keys as his body begins to smoke and then burst into flames. He stumbles towards a pond only to collapse in a charred heap of bubbling flesh at its edge. That opening scene sums up writer/director David Creed’s debut feature nicely. Well done but very familiar.

Four friends Trish (Emily Wyatt; Sensation, Essex Spacebin), her ex-girlfriend Kayla (Tamaryn Payne; Hollyoaks, Stalled), Stacey (Naomi Willow; 2nd Date Sex) and Blake (Sian Abrahams; Aylesbury Dead) are having a bit of a girl’s night out. Trish initially gets a less than friendly reception for cheating on Kayla. That however is soon put behind them when they see Kayla’s other ex, Tyler (David English), in the club. It seems he’s recently gotten out of jail after doing time for abusing her.

Of course, this calls for a road trip. On their way out to a place in the country, they pick up a hitchhiker, Vinnie (Jon Glasgow) who tells them about a local pagan cult’s Solstice Festival to honour the Goddess Mabon, run by Father Saxon (Ian Champion) and Mrs. March (Emma Spurgin Hussey; The Barge People, A Werewolf in England).

By this point, anyone who’s seen more than a couple of supernatural-themed films already knows this is all a set-up. And if they didn’t, the silent, hulking groundskeeper (Rory Wilton; An English Haunting, Blood Lust) should be the final clue. This is all very nicely shot, and for the most part, written. The main issue is just how annoyingly juvenile and giggly the leads are. Which, when you think about it, is also an issue in plenty of films too.

Eventually, Mabon turns their fears against them. Unfortunately, instead of new, or at least interesting fears, we get selfie addict Stacey who fears ageing and losing her looks. Blake fears dogs, Trish is scared of bugs. And of course, Kayla is afraid of Tyler.

The closest Sacrilege gets to being creative is to have the former partners who still have feelings for each other be a same-sex couple. But it still leads to the inevitable keep the panties, or in this case bikini bottoms, on and hide the nipples sex scene. Just keep the camera above the waistline, that avoids showing anything and doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence.

To its credit, Sacrilege doesn’t skimp on the gore. I was impressed that the opening death was an actual fire effect and not just CGI flames. The death scenes are messy and well done, although a psychiatrist might have something to say about Creed’s fondness for impaling women.

Despite the final act’s haste to wrap things up it does manage to create a fair amount of suspense. And then spoils it with an anti-climactic non-ending that had me rolling my eyes. Maybe if we’d gotten a bit more background about the cult it would have at least made sense. But at seventy-seven minutes excluding the credits Sacrilege doesn’t have time for that.

Creed manages to show he has the technical chops to direct a film. Where he fails is as a writer. Sacrilege is a collection of clichés strung together and called a plot. And even when it manages to step up it promptly shoots itself down. Hopefully, before he steps behind the camera again he finds a good writer. Despite that, it still manages to come out ahead of similar films such as Witches of Amityville Academy and Coven of Evil.

** 2/5

Sacrilege will be available on digital download from 27th September from Bad Blood Films.

Review originally posted on Voices From the Balcony

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