Another British effort aiming to muscle in on the recent trend for folk horror, Sacrilege is one of those classic ‘fish out of water’ scenarios where a bunch of city folk head to the sticks, only find the locals do things very differently in the countryside.

Four friends – well three friends and a former girlfriend who is trying to worm her way back into the group after a nasty breakup – decide the best way to get away from their troubles is to pack their bags and head for a girly weekend in an isolated, country home.

There’s Kayla (Tamaryn Payne), the vulnerable member of the group who is reeling from the news her abusive former boyfriend has just been released from prison; Trish (Emily Wyatt) – her other ex; influencer and Kayla’s housemate Stacey (Naomi Willow) and tough cookie Blake (Sian Abrahams).

Off they set, picking up a hitchhiker on the way, who tells them about the locals’ appetite for the goddess Mabon, which will be celebrated in some sort of pagan festival that very weekend.

Having indulged in some weed they stumbled across, the foursome set off for the festival, and somewhat strangely elect to stay when people start stripping off and drinking from goblets of blood.

But stay they do, told to ‘face their fears’ – and that is never going to end well…

The weird thing with Sacrilege is, well…there isn’t really anything wrong with it. It’s nicely shot, well acted (in the main – less so the supporting cast) and the central premise is solid enough.

But it is never really thrilling – you keep waiting for it to kick into gear and get you on the edge of your seat and it just never happens. Things just drift along, the pulse quickens ever so slightly towards the climax – and then it is all over. Writer/director David Creed – making his feature debut here – has clearly watched a few horror films, but doesn’t really know what to do with that knowledge.

There is also a frustrating over-reliance on central characters doing stupid things – they are all aware the visions that plague them are nothing more than hallucinations, but still get suckered in, with one character and a bottle of bleach promoting an audible ‘FFS’ to blurt from my lips.

Even so – and as mentioned above – Sacrilege does have stuff going for it. The acting from the four leads is pretty much spot on and, arguably more importantly, there is real chemistry there and you totally believe they are a bunch of close friends, which becomes crucial when they put themselves in harm’s way for each other.

The location photography (shot in the SW England) looks lush, the soundtrack is effective, while the totem to Mabon is an imposing sight, even if I would have liked a big more backstory on the goddess herself.

Sacrilege is certainly worth your time, just don’t expect anything you’ll be talking excitedly about afterwards.

Movie Review: Sacrilege
2.5Overall Score
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About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle