Movie Review: Sacrilege (2020)

You might love Sacrilege (2020) if you are a fan of horror flick meets a chick flick that contains “girl-on-girl” action. You might be thinking of Jennifer’s Body (2009), Five Girls (2006), and Black Swan (2010). Now, picture these movies as Regina George and her posse (Mean Girls, 2004) sitting in a school café. They would tell Sacrilege, “You can’t sit with us!”

But the more open and inclusive Chilling Adventures of Sabrina would gladly wave Sacrilege over to come and join their table, as they belong together… in a way.

Four friends: Kayla (Tamaryn Payne), Trish (Emily Wyatt), Stacey (Naomi Willow), and Blake (Sian Abrahams) decide to go on weekend getaway to Mabon Village. Before getting into the village, a stranger, Vinnie (Jon Glasgow) hitches a ride with them. As he becomes acquainted with them, he invites them to the festival of Mabon happening that night. At the ceremony, the priest, Father Saxon (Ian Champion) tells everyone to write down their fears so Mabon can take them away.

Like others present at the ceremony, our protagonists scribble down their fears and throw them into the fire. Unfortunately for our protagonists “Mabon” makes their fears manifest in their individual realities, as they start hallucinating after the bacchanalia. In the course of the next day, Kayla and Trish manage to breathe life into their long dead romance. Shocking what a weekend getaway can do.

The characters could have avoided misery and misfortune, proving Sacrilege is a pretty typical horror movie.  The four lovely ladies behaved like people trying so hard to die, as though they were little pieces of metal being pulled to a giant magnet called death. When you see a village is named “Mabon”, after a deity with whom you are not familiar, you ought to proceed with a certain degree of caution. Because you are new to the village, you do not follow a random stranger to a “pagan ceremony.” And when a woman tells you to “leave before the ceremony is over”, you take heed and get going, even when the creepy-looking priest urges you to stay awhile longer. Little did our protagonists know they were the sacrifice to Mabon.

Sacrilege committed some transgressions. Let me start with the lack of research. Was it trying to portray Wicca or “devil” worship? Knowing and understanding these two are different concepts would help movie and TV writers create believable scenarios. Mabon is a god, not a goddess, an oversight the film makes a number of times. Perhaps this was a choice to make Mabon a goddess, considering how The Craft (1996) succeeded in selling Mabon as a deity.

This lack of research spilled into the lesbian “romance” between two of the characters. It was obvious the characters may lack experience when it comes to these scenes, and no one thought to get an intimacy coordinator on set. But in Sacrilege, we see a lesbian sex scene portrayed through a crystal clear male gaze. You would think rekindling an old spark with a lover of yore would translate to on-screen sizzling passion, not so much here.

The makeup was a highlight. Director of Photography, Sarah Edwards, does an excellent job. I also think the editing, done by Ross McFall, is solid. The music and sound effect made lot of sense, too. I loved the use of colors and lighting. The dialogue is rough in places but for the most part our groups conversations are typical friends’ conversation. Not every group of friends talks about High Renaissance Art, Syllogism, Algebra, and works of Ingmar Bergman. Regular people have regular conversations. It is not a sacrilege to be basic, after all.

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