The water of the lake still beneath the morning mist rising to the trees, the forest seems endless, at its shadowed heart the perfect grounds of Mabon Hall, the guest house to which four friends have come for a break from their stressful lives, Kayla, Trish, Blake and Stacey, with their perfect hair and teeth and figures and clothes in footwear entirely unsuited to the countryside.

Picking up a hitch-hiker on the way, Vinnie, he says they should join him and the locals for the Mabon Festival, drinking, dancing, smoking and fire rituals beneath the clear skies far from the lights of the city, but having trekked through the forest by torchlight to join in the revelry they find themselves haunted by their actions.

A vicious black dog in the night which attacks and vanishes, a fearful reflection of decay in the mirror, a sinister stalker, the women are singled out and subjected to what will trigger their deepest fears, and despite the cucumber sandwiches, cigarettes and endless cups of tea there seems to be no escape.

Written and directed by David Creed, Sacrilege plays with the trappings of folk horror, the masks, the totems, the forest, the fire rituals, but is ultimately superficial, The Wicker Man as mass produced to fill the shelves of Primark, cheap and without any thought, substance or logic, the outdoor pool sessions suggesting the English summer while the sudden fall of total night indicates winter.

From the surly and sinister groundskeeper who might have been more welcoming had the guests not been so presumptive and entitled to the requisite warning of Mrs March who serves as harbinger, with on-the-nose dialogue and performances which follow it is difficult to muster any more than transient sympathy for the four as their endless selfies give way to screaming.

The cast led by Tamaryn Payne, Emily Wyatt, Sian Abrahams and Naomi Willow with Jon Glasgow as Vinnie and Ian Champion as Father Saxon, despite the potential indicated by the opening scene, echoing the classic Night of the Demon with its summary disposal of a non-believer, instead Sacrilege quickly loses direction, stumbling in the tall grass and unsure of its footing as soon as twilight approaches.

Sacrilege is currently on general release



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