Derren Brown is back with a new mind-bending special. Sacrifice sees the renowned illusionist subject Phil, an American with a highly dubious stance on immigration, to various psychological tests under the guise of a scientific researcher.
Culminating in an attempt to have Phil take a bullet for a supposed illegal Mexican immigrant, Sacrifice is an exploration of the power of the human mind and the underlying unifying nature of humanity.
The special episode was aired specifically for Netflix on 19 October, marking the magician’s first move away from Channel 4. It also featured a change of scenery for Brown, with much of the episode based in the USA, perhaps as his widespread fame in the UK risks undermining the legitimacy of his experiments.
Sacrifice has received mixed reviews, facing criticism from those who questioned the show’s ethics and labelled Brown’s actions as manipulative. However, all subjects involved in Brown’s experiments will have signed disclaimers agreeing to this supposed manipulation. Brown has also emphasised that ‘after care is an important part of [the show]’ and has remained in contact with Phil, introducing him to the subjects of Pushed to the Edge and Apocalypse, his previous two specials.
Ultimately, Sacrifice, with its focus on morality and the psychological over the mystical, is another fascinating experiment from the illusionist and well worth a watch.