Writing and Reviews – Denise Pasutti
My Take: Really, another found footage like flick? Alright then, here we go. I’ll start off by saying I think I was misled by the trailer and the fact that this flick is written and directed by Ti West and has AJ Bowen in it. I was expecting something creepy to be behind the cult but nope, it’s just a creepy religious cult under the influence of some normalish cocaine snorting guy. I suppose I should have guessed from the trailer that this was not a supernatural trailer but I so wanted it to be more than just a retelling of the Jonestown Massacre. So here’s the set-up. Sam and Jake work for media operation called Vice and decide to pursue a story of a cult like sanctuary located in South America maybe? They learn of Eden Parish from photographer Patrick after he tells them about his sister Caroline who has been indoctrinated in the cult that is passing as a sober living, away from the trappings of the modern world type of place; that is completely funded by the life savings of its residents. Patrick is travelling there with the hope of bringing Caroline home and Sam and Jake go along to get a story and interview the leader.
Things start off badly as they are met by men carrying heavy-duty weapons and threatening them if they don’t stop filming. Caroline shows up, disappointed that Patrick brought friends but it’s all good. Love and understanding are the words of the day. The outsiders soon attract attention as they interview cult members, I mean residents, and it’s not long before they realize that all is not as it seems. Eden Parish isn’t a loving community after all. If you know the story of Jonestown, you know how this ends.
Final Thoughts: I guess it’s clear that I didn’t like this flick. The acting is good and the overall look of the film is nice. There’s minimal shaky cam, so it’s not all bad. I expected something sinister other than unstable humans to be the evil element here. Yes it is horrifying to see the deaths and angering to see the feelings of helpless with everyday life that drives people to be pulled into this ridiculous blind devotion to a false saviour (I’m not religious in any way, that just seems like the right word.) But I don’t have any interest in watching it unfold. I suppose I should have read about the movie before seeing it instead of just going off the trailer. My bad. This isn’t a bad movie, it’s just not what I looking for.