A Vice magazine fashion photographer receives a letter from his troubled sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz), living at Eden Parish, a secluded, communal farm run by a mysterious man named Father (Gene Jones). The photographer Patrick (Kentucker Audley), along with journalist Sam (AJ Bowen) and cameraman Jake (Joe Swanberg), are totally on top of what could be a sick-ass story about a creepy cult, so they head to Eden Parish, and bring their cloying, Williamsburg naivete along with them to document this shit (and inevitably, impact and adjust the story). The movie we're watching is supposed to be the resulting Vice doc. And so, ballsy king of slow-burn horror Ti West ("The House of the Devil," "The Innkeepers") uses the popular found-footage horror conceit to riff on the Jonestown Massacre.
Eric (Jack O'Connell) is clearly a prodigy. A violent thug not even out of his teens, he has been moved from a juvenile facility to an adult prison—"starred up" in British penal system parlance. He appears almost psychotic, ready to deal out extreme brutality at the faintest provocation. But there's at least one prisoner in his new lockdown who might be able to tame him: his father, Neville (Ben Mendelsohn). That is, it must be acknowledged, a premise with more than a whiff of middlebrow melodrama to it.