Sator

Sator ★★★½

Syphoning his grandmother's recollections and anecdotes and interpreting them through a fictional format, writer and director Jordan Graham crafts a supernatural horror film that also seems deeply personal with Sator. The narrative is set mostly in a log cabin within a secluded snowy forest and observes Adam (Gabriel Nicholson) living alone and seemingly disturbed by events long ago while being watched by a supernatural entity. 

The present-day storyline becomes continually intercut with scenes that conjure up home-movie footage, most of which involve Adam's grandmother, Nani (June Peterson) who appears to be suffering from dementia. Graham leans into the annals of the 14th and 15th centuries for the pervading ambience of his work, where mental illnesses such as dementia resided as a symptom of demonic-possession and patients were routinely the victims of witch trials. Adam may have even retreated to the forest's desolation due to finding the situation with Nani incrementally hard to handle, together with some other implied changes and uncertainties in his life.

Graham purposefully shifts perspectives in a disorienting but appurtenant attempt to convey his central character becoming progressively unbalanced; furthermore underlined by intentionally avoiding marked passages of time and the disparity between dream and reality. There's the occasional moment when the storyline doesn't appear to facilitate a great deal of narrative sense, but the atmosphere entirely commands the story; never ceasing in functioning on an emotional level. Sator encompasses ample amounts of beauty and unhappiness methodically enshrouded in an extremely low-budget horror film underscored further by creepiness and uncertainty.

Paul Elliott liked these reviews

All