The latest film from indie genre icon Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) sends frequent collaborators AJ Bowen, Amy Seimetz, Joe Swanberg and Kentucker Audley on a harrowing journey into madness and messianic bloodshed.
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"America's coming apart at the seams!" I've long had an inexplicable fascination with death cults, Jonestown being one of the most significant ones - representing, as it does, the spiritual death of the San Francisco liberal dream. The idea of repurposing the Jonestown Massacre as a modern day Vice documentary is arguably in poor taste, but it's also halfway brilliant. Ti West's film is both punishing and effective.
I was engaged from start to finish, but it was by no means perfect. The biggest flaw were the lifeless characters - the one exception being Father, who was thoroughly chilling. The commune set itself felt unexplored and the first-person style was patchy at best (though the nighttime photography was quite haunting). West says absolutely nothing as usual, but it still it held my morbid attention.
Grand concept and mature direction marred by a script that too closely resembles the Jonestown Massacre to garner anything but anticipation, as the suspense that should be mustered by its telling is bled out by lack of insight and characterization. Film is all exposition about a well known historical event and doesn't have anything else to add. The not-needed musical score makes it feel too cinematic in spots, too.
Usando injustificadamente el recurso del "falso documental", Ti West no logra estar a la altura del hecho del que su película bebe: el suicidio masivo de Jonestown. Lo peor es que tampoco busca jamas distanciarse de tal referencia, por lo que se hace imposible no pensar en aquello en vez de lo que la propia película nos ofrece. Sobre sectas y ritos extraños es mejor ver la excelente "Red State" de Kevin Smith.
Another weak and disappointing attempt from Ti West. Great premise, solid performances (Gene Jones is phenomenal), mediocre execution (no pun intended), and idiotic ending. Overall, a banal, shallow and predictable "found footage" exercise. Like the typical "immersionist" Vice feature.
Despite being suspenseful and compelling, as a film about the nature and exploration of cult, it brings very little that is insightful or new. However, the questions it provokes about media, its effect on a group of people and the need to document are where its interesting and meaty parts lie.