“The Sacrifice Game” starts promising but by the end, the real crime is sacrificing time to watch this movie.
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“The Sacrifice Game” Film Summary
Set in December 1971 at a boarding school, “The Sacrifice Game” shows a teacher and two students trapped by a murderous cult. Director and screenwriter Jenn Wexler initially has fun playing with the 70s background and grindhouse genre. But after the opening killing, “The Sacrifice Game” quickly becomes a holiday horror devoid of fun and tension.
As Christmas nears, a string of unsolved murders is happening around a boarding school. While most of the kids will be safe and away from the school, Clara (Georgia Acken) and Samantha (Madison Baines) have no choice but to stay at the school during the holiday. Samantha is heartbroken about the choice but makes the most of it. But Clara is quiet and may have visions of the murders taking place. Luckily for both girls, their teacher, Rose (Chloë Levine), is there to accompany them.
Unfortunately for Rose, a bloodthirsty satanic gang is on their way to the boarding school. Led by Jude (Mena Massoud), a group of four murderers aims to resurrect a demon and get rewarded in the process. They plan to do this by sacrificing many lives until their mission takes them to the boarding school. The girls may be held hostage, but more people might be in danger than meets the eye.
“The Sacrifice Game” is not particularly creative in its plot, characters, or kills. The story is inspired by the Manson Murders meets “Black Christmas” meets numerous stranger-comes-over tales. The characters aren’t given much motivation or sympathy, as the film is more interested in torturing them. While the first murder shows style, any other violent scene is devoid of horror or tension. By the end, the real crime is sacrificing time to watch this movie.
“The Sacrifice Game” Character Descriptions
Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member.
Clara is a quiet and lonely child. The other kids at her boarding school bully her, and she copes with self-mutilation. Her and Samantha are the only children left at the school during Christmas break.
- The actor is also known for their role in “Come Fly with Me.”
Samantha is more social than Clara and a better-liked student. While Samantha feels abandoned by her family for the holidays, she is kind to Clara and Rose and enjoys their company.
- The actor is also known for their role in “The Young Arsonists.”
Rose is one of Clara and Samantha’s teachers who agrees to take care of the girls during the holiday. Her boyfriend is a fellow teacher who sticks around town for the Christmas break.
- The actor is also known for their role in “Trinkets.”
The leader of a small cult believes that they’re summoning a demon. Jude is cruel and takes pleasure in torturing others.
- The actor is also known for their role in “Aladdin.”
“The Sacrifice Game” Review
Our Rating: Negative (Acquired Taste)
No Tension in Horror
In the first minute of “The Sacrifice Game,” a man gets his throat sliced. The scene is a jolt and isn’t meant to create tension but rather to set the tone for the hijinks to follow. But instead, “The Sacrifice Game” shifts tones and never quite seems to commit to any atmosphere it’s selling. Is it a demon movie, an invasion movie, or a 1970s grindhouse movie? Perhaps a small budget restrained execution. But when the story shows the murderers fighting, I’m not going to be scared of them. And when a knife is never teased but immediately starts slashing throats, you numb the viewer for whatever they’re about to see next.
A Disjointed and Confusing Third Act
By the end of “The Sacrifice Game,” the script seems more interested in explaining its twist and demon mythology than building up any feeling in its audience. We have three different storylines taking place: Jude losing his mind, Maisie (Olivia Scott Welch) reanalyzing her demon books, and the demon dancing. All of it requires us to care about the murderers’ mission, but what should I feel here? By spending more time with the villains separated and caring about the mythology, “The Sacrifice Game” loses sight of what’s at risk. What should the audience care about?
On The Fence
Thin Characters Creates Lack of Cohesion and Sympathy
What unites the four people in the murderous gang? Why spend time torturing this small group of schoolgirls? Plenty of horror movies are made better by never fully explaining the monster or his intentions, but we don’t necessarily fear the killers in “The Sacrifice Game” when we immediately see them driving around in a car together. What’s more frustrating is the lack of information about the girls in danger. Who are the school girls? Why should we care about anyone’s impending doom? “The Sacrifice Game” basically gives us the small two-sentence description I wrote above before killing off people.
Who Is This For?
Fans who enjoy holiday movies with a touch of gore might enjoy “The Sacrifice Game.”
“The Sacrifice Game” General Information
|Sean Redlitz and Jenn Wexler
|Based On Work By
|December 8, 2023
|How To Watch
|1 Hour, 30 Minutes
|Noted Characters and Cast
Content Rating Explanation
“The Sacrifice Game” is not rated, but includes graphic violence, profanity, scenes of self-harm, and satanic imagery.
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