Sator (2019) – Film Review
Director: Jordan Graham
Cast: Michael Daniel, Rachel Johnson, Aurora Lowe
by @Roger Crow
Horror fans of a certain age will recall seeing The Blair Witch Project for the first time. Rather aptly my mate gave me a copy he bought in some random overseas market, and given the nature of the material, that found footage shocker remains the gold standard of the genre.
The more cash spent on the sequels, the less effective they were. It was a raw, visceral experience which proved that a tiny budget and a sleep-deprived cast could produce a blockbuster more lucrative than many tentpole movies. In the decades since nobody has come close to matching that sense of terror, though full marks to Jordan Graham for his slow burning chiller.
It’s set in a desolate forest, where a broken family is being observed by Sator – a supernatural entity who is attempting to claim them.
Some have compared it to The Witch and Hereditary, and the making of is perhaps more interesting than the film itself.
“Flashes of brilliance”
In the summer of 1968, Jordan’s grandmother ‘conjured up a supernatural entity’ known as ‘Sator’, whose torment eventually sent her to a psychiatric hospital.
Jordan cast her in an improvisational cameo while he was using her house for filming. Apparently while the camera was rolling, she shared her experiences with automatic writing and all the voices in her head.
It helped that she’d written a thousand-page journal documenting every day with him for three months.
Fair play to Jordan for getting the movie made. There are flashes of brilliance here, including a great, haunting image in the first few minutes, and some inspired opening titles. Yes, there are plenty of rookie mistakes, including handwritten titles which are pretty indecipherable. And every person on this offering deserves to be recognised. A nice simple Helevetica next time Jordan.
Good effort though.