For over twenty years Will Allen was the in-house videographer for the Buddhafield—a religious group, eventually numbering over a hundred members, that mixed meditation, ecstatic experience, and ballet. In 2007 the group shattered amid accusations of emotional and sexual abuse. The title of Allen’s new documentary shows which side he ended up on: It’s called Holy Hell.
Holy Hell confirms some stereotypes of cults and challenges others. The Buddhafield offered much that our churches don’t offer but should; it offered much that they do offer and shouldn’t. The biggest draw of the Buddhafield, the element that confirmed its place at the center of its members’ lives, is something many Christians long for and must accept that our religion does not provide.