It’s never a critic’s first remit to single out for fault one aspect of a piece without much consideration. Even more so a single department or, in this case, a single person. Unfortunately when it comes to Sacrilege (a film so aptly-titled it must be an accident) the blame falls single-handedly upon writer-director David Creed. While other aspects of this production fail to raise themselves above the parapets of basic competence, the ones which drag the whole down into a pit are all related to the story, the dialogue, and direction of the actors.

Sacrilege follows four young women who decide to take a weekend break away at a quaint cottage Airbnb in the countryside. Once there, they decide to attend a local folk festival at the suggestion of an attractive young hitchhiker they pick up on the the journey. But after attending the strange ritual and the ensuing party, each begins to see visions of their deepest fears attacking them. Is it the drink, drugs, and stress bringing out the worst in them, or is the supernatural entity really trying to kill them?

The main problem is that Sacrilege has the feel of a student film. The ideas here aren’t new, or even novel. The holiday weekend setup is a stock trope, but the reasoning for the trip is so loosely thrown together that it makes mockery of the escapade. The four leads try their best, but not a single actor comes away feeling less than wooden and aimless. What’s more, each character has one defining trait, and nothing else to them. One is an OCD clean freak, another a vain, perpetually selfie-taking blogger, and in each case that single trait is all that separates each one from being utterly indistinguishable. What’s worse is that none of them are remotely likeable, so when the deaths start happening it’s actually a welcome break from the aggravating tedium.

There’s essentially nothing to recommend here. The passable filmmaking aspects are drowned out by the dull script, ridiculous characters, and flat direction. Similar stories have been made before, and this film doesn’t so much stand on the shoulders of giants, as perch precariously on a bin near a giant’s house. Skip this, watch The Ritual, or The Descent, Dog Soldiers, Midsommar,¬†or Kill List. Literally any of the films this movie aspires toward and cack-handedly steals from is a better use of your time.

Available on digital download from Mon 27 Sep 2021