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DoorQ.Com | The Sacrifice (2005) – The Whipped Cream on your Microbudget Sundae
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The Sacrifice (2005) – The Whipped Cream on your Microbudget Sundae

So I ordered The Sacrifice from Amazon just in time for Halloween. The Sacrifice is a “gay-themed” horror flick from first-time director Jamie Fessenden. The movie has awful sound, abysmal special effects, a budget of maybe $200, and a dramatic climax that will make you laugh out loud because it’s so ridiculous. And it’s still better than Dante’s Cove, and let me tell you why.

I can overlook the low-budget video, I can accept the use of fade-to-white to indicate psychic powers, I can even get past the super soakers they used to spray the blood everywhere. Doing those things correctly requires buying film stock, installing various software suites and, well, actually having a crew. Those things are expensive. The pen and paper you need to write a good script aren’t expensive at all, so there’s just no excuse for bad writing.

And the writing in The Sacrifice is quite good. There was a sale at the Exposition Department, to be sure, but we may safely blame that on the genre. It is difficult to pull off a sensitive rebel emo goth boy as your main character, but Jonathan, our hero, does a magnificent job of not screaming “You don’t love me!” at his mother or “I want my father back!” to David, the local boy with a dark secret and a fine, fine ass.

In the presence of a decent script, I can even get past shoddy acting, but Robert Kersey and David Snyder portrayed their characters (Jonathan and David) admirably. There’s a certain chemistry between them that’s always present, even though their awkward high school romance takes second stage to the evolving mystery of their small New England town.

And what a mystery it is. Haunted slave ships, mass graves, ancient cults, forbidden rituals… It’s like an entire season of Buffy rolled into one movie. None of it is remotely plausible, mind you, but do we expect plausibility from the genre that brought us The Screaming Skull? We sure don’t. The plot might not keep you on the edge of your seat, but it will keep you guessing, and the inevitable series of horrifying revelations at the end will satisfy, even if you predicted them.

Production values are low, of course, but The Sacrifice maintains an appropriately eerie tone throughout. And some of the choices actually work well. The use of Sony’s Night Shot adds a Blair Witchy feel in a good way, and simple locked-off tripod shots of New England autumn establish mood quietly and effectively.

The only thing that truly marks The Sacrifice as an amateur production is the sound mixing. I had to keep adjusting the volume on my remote in order to catch all the lines. (My advice to Dunkirk? Get a Mac mini, install Garage Band, and you’re one cheap USB microphone away from an ADR studio.)

Ultimately, though, I want to see more of this. I want to see gay movies where I’m rooting for an emo goth boy witch, and not some circuit party casualty. I want to see gay movies where the two leads share a romantic interest that’s grounded in more than “I thought he was so hot!” And I want gay movies to provide more story than is required to set up twenty minute soft-porn sequences.

Thank you, Dunkirk Studios, for finally giving me what I want. They’re working on a sequel — I, for one, can’t wait.

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