The Sacrifice Game

The Sacrifice Game poster

It was the night before Christmas, and at the Blackvale School for Girls all that was stirring was the two girls frustrated that they didn’t get to go home for the holidays, Samantha and Clara under the care of teacher Rose who tries to make the best of the situation with turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes and a secret bottle of vodka brought up from the labyrinthine basement, their make-do celebrations disrupted by an unexpected knock on the door; who can it be?

Rather than Santa bearing gifts, it is would-be cult leader Jude, his girlfriend Maisie, a former Blackvale student herself, and their friends Doug and John completing the quartet of killers whose spree has taken them through three towns in the last week with the police clueless as to their identities or where they will strike next, the school their final destination as they play the sacrifice game to summon a demon who they believe will grant them unimaginable power.

The Sacrifice Game; Doug and Jude (Laurent Pitre and Mena Massoud) come-a-knocking, asking for help from Miss Rose (Chloë Levine).

Filmed in the Oka Abbey in Quebec, The Sacrifice Game benefits hugely from the production value of the location, showcased in the widescreen format which suits the early seventies setting, the echoing stone of the empty halls and cloisters confirming that there is nobody listening above, nobody coming to save Miss Rose, Samantha and Clara (Chloë Levine, Madison Baines and Georgia Acken) from those who taunt and torture them, yet given the potential it feels like the stakes of the game should be more ambitious.

Directed by Jenn Wexler from a script co-written with Sean Redlitz, the film is initially off putting in its casual violence, mindless murder for the sake of it with no sense that Jude (Mena Massoud) and his cohort are any different from the lunchroom school bullies who recently vacated their dormitory, a parade of humiliation and cruelty in service of their fetish for wounded flesh, but although the thin-as-tender-skin plot finally twists at the midway it is a long haul to get to that point.

The Sacrifice Game; Samantha, Clara and Miss Rose (Madison Baines, Georgia Acken and Chloë Levine) find themselves unexpectedly tied up on Christmas Eve.

In some ways a cautionary seasonal tale of “be careful what you wish for,” the summoned demon not what was expected nor something the Jude is prepared for, throughout the enigmatic Clara remains the most interesting player simply because she is the only one who does not feel like a stock character of villain or victim, though as the conspicuously weird, creepy yet assured outsider there is perhaps too much of Wednesday Addams in her even before she performs her angular dance routine.

The period recreation vastly better than that of The Tank, the costumes and hair capture the vibes of the early seventies though there is once again a feeling that while diligently recreated the era was chosen to simplify the narrative by precluding the use of cellphones, though other frustrating oddities are allowed to creep in which are not excused by the vintage setting, John’s knife able to cut clean through bone to sever fingers in a single slash, Rose bizarrely bandaging Doug’s gunshot wound over his jacket rather than directly on skin and a distinct lack of peripheral vision exhibited by Rose’s bland boyfriend Jimmy.

The Sacrifice Game will be available on Shudder from Friday 8th December

The Sacrifice Game; Grant (Derek Johns) finds that he is also expected to make sacrifices.



Show Buttons
Hide Buttons