A serial killer is on the loose in California, killing women who were victims of sexual assault. The only clues are a note left on the bodies that reads, "threading over dark" and that the killer seems to know the detective who's brought on to solve the case.
For some reason I had been looking forward to checking "This Hollow Sacrament" even though there wasn't much to the premise, I never bothered with watching the trailer, and there was very little info to be found on the net. I was mostly eager to check this out because it was being distributed by Unearthed Films, in which they seemed to be one of the main contender with releasing obscure and (pardon the over used word) extreme titles. So when it was all said and done, and the end credits rolled I was not only disappointed with what I saw, but wasn't sure why this title has been distributed by a company like Unearthed.
This is another example where there is a lot of talk and promise of what the movie delivers compared to what we actually receive. The most disappointed aspect was the lack of gore and in general, on screen kills. Now this was never being promoted as being a "Guinea Pig"-esque gore film, but there was mention of it being a gory film. The only thing that is to be found in "This Hollow Sacrament" are scenes containing aftermath footage, which was nothing more than just people and objects being covered in blood. For me, and I'm sure most seasoned horror fans, blood does not equate gore. I will be fair, there are two scenes that someone may consider gory or harsh. One, featuring a pregnant woman's belly being cut open with a hack saw and another one with a "young" girl (Who where they trying to fool? If that girl was a teenager, then you can call me Ebert.) getting a drill through the mouth and out the back of the head. Unfortunately the belly cutting scene features such poor special effects it isn't nearly as effective as it could be. Especially in comparison to something like "August Underground's Penance" or even "Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre". Then the drill scene...Sorry, but seeing a drill coming through a piece of wood with some meat and blood on the drill bit isn't all that shocking or impressive.
The lack of gore was disappointing enough but what really killed the movie was the dull and uninteresting story. To give the creators credit, they really did try to make a good movie, that much is obvious, but due to some bad editing the story becomes jumbled from the beginning from trying to include several character's story-lines in the first quarter of the movie. It becomes a bit of a challenge trying to remember who is who and how they are relevant to the story of a serial killer that is slowly being unraveled. Hell, even some characters show up in the beginning but don't come back until the last half of the movie, though they at least give us the benefit of a flashback to help remind us of who they are and what they did. As I said, the story is very slow, which is fine, I don't mind if a movie wants to take its time developing the story. I would certainly rather have that then just another mindless flick, which seem to be getting turned out by the dozens these days. There just needs to be something their to sustain the movie, here there is nothing. We have two main story-lines, both being slowly developed but show no real connection between them and don't become intertwined until late into the movie. Then what few characters we are given throughout the entire movie are as dull and interesting as the movie itself, and aren't ever really developed beyond merely existing in the moment.
By the time the movie reaches its conclusion, it becomes an obvious play on morality, values, judgment and the importance of life. Though the reasoning that's given seems to make little sense, as well as the connection between the characters of the story. I'm sure I'm starting to sound like a broken record but in the case of "This Hollow Sacrament" it's not a good movie but goes to show the potential of the people behind the scenes. The movie really falls short in all aspects of directing, editing, story, and characters but there was this little glimmer of possibility. So while I cannot recommend "This Hollow Sacrament" to anyone, I will check out the future work of the director since I'm sure it'll only be a matter of time before he creates a solid horror movie.