Ti West’s 2013 ‘The Sacrament’ is a found-footage horror film featuring AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, and Gene Jones. Patrick is a photographer who receives a cryptic letter from his missing sister, Caroline, inviting him to visit her in the isolated religious community she has joined. The letter piques the interest of Patrick’s journalist friends Sam and Jake, who accompany Patrick to the cult-like community and document their journey. However, what they find inside the gates of “Eden Parish” ends up being far more sinister than they had ever imagined. If you’re curious to know more about how this expedition unravels for Sam and Jake, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘The Sacrament.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Sacrament Plot Synopsis
Sam works for VICE, a new york based multimedia company that specializes in controversial stories. As such, when Patrick receives word from his sister about her move to a supposedly paradisal remote community led by a religious leader, it presents a fascinating opportunity to Sam. He convinces Patrick to let him tag along and do a story about this community. To help him film the trip, Sam employs the assistance of his co-worker, Jake. Patrick calls the number his sister left him, but instead of getting an exact location, he’s given vague instructions and a helicopter.
The helicopter drops the trio at a clearing in the middle of the woods. From there, they are picked up by two guides, who are startled at Sam and Jake’s presence and displeased at Jake’s filming. Still, they allow Sam and Jake to proceed after getting explicit clearance from their leader. The trio drives down a forest path to the entrance of Eden Parish. At the gates, they are met with armed guards who want them to stop filming, hand in their passports, and donate to the establishment. The trio declines, and Jake continues filming the events discreetly. Eventually, Patrick’s sister, Caroline, comes in to help them out.
Caroline tells them it was only a misunderstanding due to Sam and Jake’s unannounced presence. She also tells them the community is sensitive about media exposure but permits them to film their documentary. Afterward, she shows Sam and Jake their assigned cabin and takes Patrick to the main house to catch up with him. Sam and Jake leave their lodging to interview some residents, many of whom avoid them at first. Nevertheless, they interview some people who all seem happy and thankful to this commune and their leader, The Father.
They also learn that the residents built the commune themselves and that most members had sold all their worldly possessions to fund their collective church. Once back in their cabin, Sam and Jake express their own opinions about the place. Though they are impressed at what the community has achieved in terms of infrastructure, they agree that some things seem fishy and that this lifestyle isn’t sustainable. Soon, they are approached by a young girl, Savannah, who doesn’t speak. When they ask her mother if they can interview her, the mother vehemently declines and leaves.
Later, a party is held to welcome Sam, Jake, and Patrick. Additionally, Caroline informs Sam that The Father has agreed to chat with him about his documentary at the party. A stage is set at the party for the chat, which will be conducted in front of the entire commune. The Father’s entrance garners huge fanfare with applause and grateful followers. When Sam starts asking The Father questions about his identity and history, The Father is evasive and manipulatively vague about his answers. He repeatedly reinstates the faults of American civilization pitched against the novelty and kindness of his community.
Eventually, The Father brings up the topic of Sam’s pregnant wife and future child. He subtly threatens Sam and warns him to be careful about correctly representing Eden Parish in his documentary. Though Sam is somewhat shaken after the interview, eventually, he calms down and starts to consider he may have been too harshly critical of the commune. However, his concerns return when Savannah approaches him again and hands him a piece of paper before running away. The note reads: Please Help Us.
The Sacrament Ending: What Happens To The People At Eden Parish?
After Sam and Jake receive the note, they search for Savannah at the party. There, they notice that the armed guards have entered the premise. The pair starts to freak out and looks for Patrick, ending up in the office Patrick was allowed to use. Inside the office, Sam finds a safe with everyone’s confiscated passports.
Later, when Sam and Jake have retired to their cabin, Savannah returns. She knocks on their door before running away. After following her, Sam and Jake discover a group of people who want to leave with them. They tell Sam that Eden Parish is an incredibly controlling community and that anyone who speaks against it is punished. They also tell Sam that Savannah no longer talks because the people in charge once physically abused her. Soon, the guards find them, and the group quickly disperses, leaving Savannah with Sam. However, the guards take Savannah to return her to her home.
The next morning, Sam and Jake find people collected in the pavilion. When they investigate, they discover that several commune members want to leave the Parish with Sam. However, Sam’s helicopter is not big enough to take more passengers. When someone tries to grab hold of Savannah, Sam interferes and tells her he’ll take her with him. He sends Jake to keep the helicopter on hold and waits with the young girl.
Nevertheless, someone attacks Sam and takes him hostage away from Savannah. Soon, the Father walks in and starts speaking to the people about the dangers of being discovered. He tells them the outside government will come with guns blazing and kill everyone inside the Parish. Afterward, his closest associates hand out poison to everyone.
The Father tells the people that the only way to be free now is in death. Everyone drinks their poison, and infants are injected with it. The guards shoot down those who try to flee or hide. A hundred and sixty-seven people died that day at Eden Parish in the largest mass suicide in recorded history.
Who Is The Father? Does He Die?
During Sam’s interview with The Father, he learns The Father’s real name is Charles Anderson Reed. However, he doesn’t offer more information about himself. Reed used to travel with his congregation and perform sermons in towns. He would prey on desperate people like Lorraine Davis, an old widow, or Caroline, a recovering drug addict. Reed has a way with his words, and can easily manipulate conversations, charming lost people into joining his cause.
His cult is a predatory and abusive group with a false image. It claims to be drug-free, yet, Reeds does cocaine and makes exceptions when it suits him. Similarly, he also traps people into his cult by promising them paradise on Earth. Reeds wants to expand his institution and needs money. Therefore, he makes Caroline invite Patrick to the Parish so that their rich parents might donate to the commune.
However, after things start to slip out of control with Sam, Reeds realizes that his charade has ended. Charles Reeds is already on the watch list of several government agencies. Though he claims that society’s faults, like imperialism, racism, poverty, greed, and so on, are the reason for the Parish’s isolation, it is just another way for him to exercise total control. He exhibits the same by leading his numerous followers to mass murder-suicide. Though Reeds doesn’t drink the poison like his followers, he meets a similar end after shooting himself in the head with a gun.
Do Sam And Jake Survive?
After Sam sends Jake to the helicopter, he leaves with the guides in their truck. Once he arrives at the clearing, he finds the helicopter waiting for him. However, after he approaches the pilot, the guides shoot at them, injuring the pilot. Jake makes a run for it into the forest and hides in the woods. After eluding the armed guides, Jake returns to the Parish and finds dead bodies littered all over the pavilion.
Jake finds Savannah and her mother hiding in a cabin. He hides with them and takes shelter under a bunk. However, when Savannah’s mother hears guards coming for them, she slits Savannah’s throat with a knife. The guards shoot at her but fail to notice Jake. Afterward, when Jake leaves the cabin, he spots Caroline entering the office. He follows her and finds Patrick’s dead body. Caroline had forcefully injected Patrick with poison.
Caroline tells Jake, The Father has taken Sam and then sets herself on fire. Jake finds Sam bound to a chair with The Father. After the Father kills himself, Jake frees Sam, and the two try to escape the Parish. They encounter some guards along the way, but one of the guards helps them by shooting their attacker. Eventually, Sam and Jake make it to the helicopter. Though the pilot is injured, he can still fly, and the three escape. Sam and Jake complete their documentary and share Eden Parish’s story with the world.
Read More: Best Cult Movies of All Time