Monday, June 24, 2024

Immaculate movie review & film summary (2024)

Sweeney plays Cecilia, a young woman who we know absolutely nothing about beyond her resolute devotion, courtesy of a childhood accident on a frozen lake that should have killed her. Like almost every character in “Immaculate,” Cecilia is a mystery, a pawn being moved on a genre board. That’s not always a problem if a film has the style to overcome a lack of character development, but Michael Mohan’s script almost defiantly lacks in visual language, drab when it needs to be vibrant and flat when it needs to pop. Many will compare this film to the Giallo genre because it’s Italian horror set in a convent, but Giallo is about big, vibrant cinematic expression in ways that “Immaculate” never considers, much less pulls off.

Cecelia arrives at an Italian convent in a relatively vague time period—when this film exactly takes place was never really clear to me in a way that was almost distracting—that’s deep in the remote countryside. We know that this house of the Lord is dangerous because we’ve seen one of those classic horror movie prologues in which a young woman is murdered by mysterious figures. In this one, it’s sisters in red masks, who pull a young nun from her escape attempt and bury her alive. Is Cecelia now taking her place? And will she meet the same fate?

Before any time passes at all really, Cecelia is struck by visions in the convent, and unsettled by some of the characters around what is basically both a training center for young nuns and a hospice for older ones. The idea that this setting, at which almost the entire film takes place, is sort of at crossroads of life and religion was likely centered in Andrew Lobel’s script but it’s tragically underdeveloped in the final product. Again, this kind of film needs to lean into its ideas and themes hard. Don’t hold back. Don’t bury potential themes. Blast them loud and proud like the great films that inspired this one did.

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HomeReviewsImmaculate movie review & film summary (2024)

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