First Poster for "The Sacrament", via Entertainment Weekly

First Poster for “The Sacrament”, via Entertainment Weekly

Looking like it was dragged across a dirt road, the poster for Ti West’s new horror-thriller The Sacrament could be an ad for the 1979 Jonestown Massacre exploitation flick Guyana: Cult of the Damned. The one-sheet poster, which debuted at Entertainment Weekly and is reminiscent of a fake newspaper ad, definitely gives off a seventies vibe.

The Sacrament follows three journalists (A.J. Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Kentucker Audley) as they travel outside the United States to visit a relative (Amy Seimetz) at Eden Parish, a religious commune led by the mysterious Father (Gene Jones). This is almost a reunion of the primary cast members of You’re Next (which co-starred West) and A Horrible Way to Die, save for V/H/S actor Audley and No Country for Old Men actor Jones. Indeed, the story of The Sacrament was modeled after the Jonestown cult from the late ’70’s. Readers may recall the mass suicide of cultists instigated by Reverend Jim Jones in 1978 at the South American compound of the PeoplesTemple. As befits a film influenced by the Jonestown tragedy, things go south soon after the journalists’ arrival: madness and messianic bloodshed ensue.

The Sacrament will have its North American premiere on September 8 at the Toronto International Film Festival, following it’s world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival. Two other TIFF screenings are scheduled for September 10 and September 13. According to TIFF’s synopsis, The Sacrament is West’s powerful take on suicide cults, and it shows a deep understanding of the hold a leader can have over a trusting populace. The film was shot using the “found footage” technique, although actor A.J. Bowen recently told Diabolique that it “was safe to say that the film is not ‘found footage’.”

The Sacrament is brought to you by acclaimed writer/director Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) and horror master Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever, The Last Exorcism), and will be released to theaters in 2014. For more on The Sacrament, Ti West and Eli Roth, check back here at!

– By Harvey Chartrand