Ready to be released on VOD and theaters this Friday April 29th, we had the chance to catch a glimpse from «Sacrifice». A thriller where we see how after several attempts in vain to start a family, a doctor called Tora Hamilton and her husband Duncan decide to move to a small community near Scotland (the husband’s hometown) with hopes of starting a new life and at the same time, the process for an adoption thru a renown local agency.
The move to their new home and work goes very smooth and fast thanks in part to the influence of Tora’s father-in-law in the town and the kindness of the people. Things however, get a weird turn when Tora accidentally finds the corpse of a woman buried on her new property. While the police and other authorities decide that the body might have been underground for decades or even centuries, and that the lack of decomposition could be due the grounds conditions, Tora notes some strange marks in the shape of runes burned on the body and mutilation that could be part of some bizarre religious celebration. Tora starts to get even more weird vibes when she concludes that the body might not been that old, and could also belong to a woman that just gave birth soon before her death, feeling some connection to her due her lack to conceive.
As we are supposed to expect, both the authorities and important figures from the community seems to not have an answer (or interest) to the incident, and even advise Tora to drop the subject and move on. The doctor however, having found the link between the body and a very peculiar rite, decides to keep digging for the identity of the deceased, since it could be related not only to her husband’s family and other powerful people of the town, but also to the same institution that gave Tora the hope to be a mother. This, as you might guess, does not goes unnoticed by other persons in the shadows, and they won’t hesitate to take measures to keep her quiet… Permanently.
“Sacrifice” has a very interesting premise, and although in these times might not sound very original and could be labeled as an average «made for tv» detective movie with a «step by step» formula, it is an entertaining film with several good moments. One of the stronger points of the film is that it never gets boring, it even manages to remind us of other classic suspense films where the secret of a village or secluded community get noted only by a newcomer (I can’t help to bring up «The Wicker Man» or to an extent «Rosemary’s Baby») who constantly get the warning to «Stop asking …or else». The pacing of the plot was fast and steady, and put together with a soundtrack that was in my opinion very well used, it managed to bring several effective suspenseful scenes.
Still, I got to mention that this is not a scary movie, per sé, it is more than anything a detective thriller, that as I mentioned earlier could have been made for tv, it even has an opening credits sequence that support this idea. Contrary to what you might expect, the plot barely touch a supernatural subject and while there is some violence, is very mild with close to no gore. There is blood in a couple of scenes, but nothing stronger than what you might see on daytime tv, therefore I could recommend this film to people that CAN’T stand hardcore horror films, but somehow want some thrills in their movies.
Some might argue that this film goes a little bit too much to the «Girl Power» side, but that would be like disliking «Titanic» just because the boat sinks at the end of the film (Hope I am not spoiling THAT movie for you) «Sacrifice» is a film where the main character suffers because she can’t have children (or more precisely, tried and failed) and when she finally seems to have a chance for happiness, it comes with a very steep price not only for her, but also for others that are not even aware that they are connected. And NO, that is not an spoiler, you can get that from the trailer. Nevertheless, the devil is in the details, and that is where «Sacrifice» has the chance to shine.
Sadly, I can’t close this review with out talking about one thing that really bothered me thru the film: Since the get go we get the notion that Tora is very capable woman, and that is fine and dandy, however, there are moments where she seems way too resourceful on things that do not seems to be connected to her profession at all. Very fast we see that Tora not only is a good doctor, she can also handle without any trouble an excavator machine to bury a dead horse she just found on her new property (Why she didn’t wait until she got the veterinarian to find out what killed that horse and if it was contagious is beyond me…. I guess she also was a great veterinarian) and without needing to ask for help or checking a manual, later we see that she also is an expert in picking locks, extracting important files without leaving a trace (well, she get caught on video a LOT, but I digress) and getting in and out of restricted areas by improvising clever plans in seconds… Part ninja, part McGiver with a touch of Nancy Drew I guess. Maybe if the audience were told at some point that one of her parents were in the police force it would have made more sense, but alas, we just see that Tora is way more capable that the same police elements that are actually trying to help her, and she can even shrug off with ease what I supposed are PROFESSIONAL killers. I just could not help to say «Yeah, Right» at several points, I guess that is why I thought that the ending was a little bit bland, I just didn’t felt that Tora was at serious danger after a while.
With hits and misses, I still recommend to watch «Sacrifice» at least once, specially on a first date or if you significant other would never watch a horror film, but still want to enjoy some «safe» thrills. The acting is good, but I don’t think they had much to do on some scenes (Still they did a good job). The film left me wanting to see more of the secret (not getting into details) and maybe if the story had gone more on that direction and less on the adventures of Tora McGiver we could have a more memorable film, but that is just my uneducated opinion…
Directed and written by Peter A. Dowling (Stag Night, Flightplan, Reasonable Doubt) based on Sharon Bolton’s novel, “Sacrifice” has the acting talents of Radha Mitchell (Rogue, Silent Hill, Pitch Black), Rupert Graves ( I recognized him as Lestrade in “Sherlock”) and Ian McElhinney (Barristan Selmy in “Game Of Thrones”), among others.
You can catch “Sacrifice” on theaters and VOD this Friday, April 29th