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Derren Brown: Sacrifice Review

Derren Brown has always been one of my favourite magicians. This special was no different, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but what are we supposed to learn from it?


Sacrifice follows an American man called Phil who has a strong dislike to immigrants, especially illegal immigrants. Derren is hoping with his training and hypnosis Phil will take a bullet for an illegal immigrant.

Along the way Derren introduces Phil to music cues which should make him feel compelled to do something. This didn’t work however when he was asked to jump into an open body of water from a high place (something Phil is terrified of). He said he had an inner conflict where there was a voice telling him to just jump and do it yet the voice that was scared ultimately won.

Derren also put a placebo effect into his mind thinking that he cannot feel pain and so this will also make him more likely to harm himself for another as he won’t feel it.

But in the end and despite Phil’s dislike of immigrants he takes a bullet for one and tells the cameras that he now needs to look at life differently and maybe not be so quick to judge.


It was a good special, very tense during the climax, and how everything was put together was very interesting to watch. It made me wonder, if I was in that situation what would I have done? If I had to take a bullet for someone I despised? If the mind games worked on me I would step in and try and defuse the situation but in the end when the gunman is counting down would I move out of the way? That’s something I don’t think I can answer. While yes you’ve saved yourself you’d feel such intense guilt for what you did and what you could’ve stopped.

What we can learn from this situation I think is that we should step in when we see injustices, no matter how big or small, because it’s not fair for someone to be treated badly. We shouldn’t just be observers and really nothing’s going to change unless someone steps in. it can be scary, of course, but the reaction you get could mean everything to someone, no matter whether you know them or not.

Do you think you could take a bullet for a stranger?

Until next time.

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