Directed by Michele Soavi, co-written by Dario Argento and starring Kelly Curtis and Herbert Lom. The Sect (also known as The Devil’s Daughter) is a 1991 Italian cult horror film.
An atmospheric and story-driven film, the movie’s lack of originality and dull plot makes it one to forget.
It begins in 1970 in Southern California at some kind of desert hippie commune. The families there are approached by Damon (Tomas Arana) who has been travelling on foot for some time. They welcome him and treat him well but that night he, alongside his followers, slaughter the entire commune in ritualistic and Satanic style.
In 1991 Miriam (Kelly Curtis) narrowly avoids running down an elderly man named Moebius (Herbert Lom). Feeling guilty and worried about him, she takes him back to her home where he can rest. What she doesn’t know is that he is the leader of a Satanic cult and she is part of their plans. Her entire life has been orchestrated from day one. The cults work started in 1970 and will end with her giving birth to the Anti-Christ.
Hardly a story to get excited about and while it tries to layer in lots of other detail to give it more legitimacy, it ends up feeling so contrived. As well as incredibly dull. The slow burn, something that can be quite welcome doesn’t pay off here.
Of course, it does have moments though and the depth given to the Satanic cult is admirable. You can tell a lot of thought went into crafting the world and the cult. It’s just a shame it doesn’t result in a really memorable final product.
The cast varies in quality too. Arana’s Damon is a highlight, his disconnected behaviour and general look makes him seem Charles Manson-esqe. Curtis’ has quite a lot to do and for the most part holds her own against the villainous Herbert Lom. He seems a little bored at times but when called upon really puts his all into it.
That this was made in 1991 is the most puzzling thing of all. The Sect looks like it belongs in horror eras long gone. It has the visuals of a late 70’s and early 80’s movie. Something that makes more sense when you consider the popularity of Satanic horror in the 1970s.
The Final Score - 5/10