I wasn’t really sure what I was in for when I started Sacrifice. The poster is centered on the hooded face of Barbara Crampton, which is the reason that I decided to watch the movie. It came out last year during the pandemic and I’m not entirely sure when it came out in 2020. I vaguely remember seeing her post about shooting the movie, which I have to say you should follow her if you’re a fan of the genre. She is a joy and an incredibly positive force in the horror community.
Sacrifice was written and directed by Andy Collier and Tor Mian. It was based on the story store Men of the Cloth by Paul Kane. H.P. Lovecraft was also credited as an influence. It stars Sophie Stevens, Ludovic Hughes, Barbara Crampton, and Lukas Loughran. Sophie Stevens is great as Emma Pickman. She sort of functions as an outside look at the island town. Ludovic Hughes basically plays two version of the same character. For the first quarter of the movie he plays the Isaac Pickman that was raised outside of the culture of the island town. The rest of the movie he plays an Isaac Pickman that has been indoctrinated into the culture of the town and will fight to stay there. Barbara Crampton is unnerving. Her huge bright smile serves to only unease and offers no real comfort. Spoilers to follow.
The plot centers on Emma and Isaac Pickman as they travel to the island that Isaac lived his first six years of his life. Isaac’s original last name was Jorstad and upon hearing his original family name the townsfolk’s attitude completely changed. They went from incredibly hostile to overly friendly. The local sheriff comes by the next day to ask what Isaac remembers about the night his father died, which was also the night that he left the town. Isaac had no idea that happened which leads the Sheriff, named Renate, to her house that night for dinner. After going through a religious service Isaac becomes more unhinged. Isaac loses his mind and grows to resent Emma and the fact that she doesn’t like the town and the culture there. It turns out that the night that his father was killed was the night that he was supposed to be sacrificed to the local legend/god. His mother killed his dad to save her son. Isaac thinks that the sacrifice was either supposed to be his unborn son or his wife Emma. Isaac is sacrificed and Emma is welcomed into the fold of the town.
The production design is great. You get subtle looks at Cthulu as well as other Lovecraftian horrors. The costumes are great in the movie as well. The robes that the cult on the island wear look fantastic and have a lot of small details that you just get a glimpse of when watching the movie normally. I do want to point out the use of color in the movie. It has very strong Giallo vibes with the use of color, which I really dig. The CG effects look great and when you see them you know that it’ll be some creepy tentacle thing. The practical effects are fantastic too. The camera works well to make sure that you don’t see too much of any one thing.
I really dug Sacrifice. If you’re a fan of creepy cult movies, you’ll probably dig it. If you want to see Barbara Crampton do a Scandinavian accent, this is the movie for you. If you just want to see a movie that is influenced by Lovecraft, this is a movie that you should check out. I watched it on Showtime Anytime but you can always rent or buy it on your preferred digital storefront if you don’t want to buy it physically.