BHFF 2019 review: ‘Sator’

SATOREast Coast Premiere
USA | 2019 | 85 Min | Dir. Jordan Graham

Deep in the woods, it’s hard to really say what’s whispering in the night. Ask grandma, though, and she’ll tell you it’s Sator—a protective dark force among the trees, a satanic presence, a ritualistic killer who’s haunted their family for generations. A young man ventures back to the forest in an attempt to rebuild a relationship with his brother who’s been hibernating in seclusion after traumatic events led to the disappearance of their mother years past. A disturbing mediation on family bonds and mental illness, SATOR is an impressive cinematic feat by first-time filmmaker Jordan Graham. —Vanessa Meyer

This enigmatic script is partially based on true events. 5 years in the making, writer, director, producer, editor Jordan Graham has brought a slow burn indie horror to BHFF that is worth the wait. Something is stalking Adam. Living in the woods in what amounts to a hunting cabin, isolation and family trauma haunt the shit out of him. With concerned siblings and a grandmother who is plagued by automatic writing to an entity she calls Sator, this family feels doomed from the get-go. The build-up has moments reminiscent of the original Blair Witch. The woods are a scary place at night, period. Add a little Hereditary for good measure. Even with those similarities, Sator is incredibly original and undeniably eerie. Besides the insane climax, that is straight-up bonkers, scary AF, it’s the sound editing and score that makes Sator as disturbing as it is. Graham wears all the hats so it makes sense that it took 5 years to complete. My own grandmother experienced automatical writing all throughout my childhood and adolescence. This was not a foreign concept to me. Sometimes I wonder if all of us on the outside might regret thinking it was crazy, one day. It’s easier to push that sentiment aside and coalesce to an old woman’s ramblings. Brooklyn Horror Film Fest is lucky to have Sator in its program this year.

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

Leave a Reply