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Review: SACREN (2019)

Having made several short films is sometimes seen as an indication that somebody is ready to take on the challenge of a feature. It can let them show they have the technical and organizational skills needed. But just as writing a short story is different from penning a novel, so are shorts and features different animals. This brings us to Sacren, a feature directed by Alexander Henderson, who has made several shorts including The Lady and Santa.

Kate (Kelsi Umeko, Last Seen In Idaho) is in a hotel bathroom staring at a pile of pills. Her husband David (Curtis McGann, Rideshare) may be in the next room in bed. Or he might not be and it may be a skeleton. Shadowy figures may be stalking her. Or it might be a dream.

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Next, we get a variety of somewhat disconnected scenes in a variety of locations. They seem to indicate that Kate has miscarried and is on some kind of psych med. Which may or may not be working. Then the last half hour turns into a home invasion film as a group of masked assailants turns up to torment them.

If that description seems disjointed, it’s nothing compared to the movie, Sacren is all over the place. From its paranoid opening where you’re never sure what’s going on to the random images of domestic drama that make up the film’s middle. And then a sudden turn into a poorly staged home invasion. None of this hangs together or even flows smoothly.

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If the film had picked one idea and ran with it, or integrated the elements better, it might have had a chance. But the constant changing of plotting and styles along with the random use of slow motion and other effects kill it. Sacren never comes together or feels like a whole film.

Neither of Henderson’s that I’ve seen shorts felt this way. They were tight, focused and used their time wisely. That may be due to the fact both were written by Michael Coulombe (Stalk). Sacren was written by Henderson, McGann and Umeko. Henderson may be one of those directors who need a good writer or co-writer.

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Whatever the reason though, Sacren was a big disappointment for me, and it’ll be a waste of time for you.

Sacren is available to stream via 1844 Entertainment.

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