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  • Writer's pictureJamie

Immaculate - Review

A great track record of horror hits this year, with the likes of Imaginary, Night Swim and Baghead topping the charts in my heart. I am exhausted by horror lately, and had no expectations that Immaculate could change that, however I was very pleasantly surprised by its strong concept, slick look and good scares. 

This film also has the unique brag of some misdirection in their marketing which barely happens in horror anymore. 

So it is all looking well in the world of Immaculate and I think with a little more focus in the first two acts (and maybe a few more scares) this could have been an all timer.

Sister Cecilia (Sydney Sweeney) receives communication from Father Sal Tedeschi (Álvaro Morte) who invites her to work in an Italian convent which is used to care for dying nuns. This call from Tedeschi comes after Cecilia survives a freak accident, through help from God as she claims. This leads her to Italy where she navigates the language barrier between herself and a lot of the nuns working and living in the convent. 

There is an immediate air created in the film when Cecilia arrives after we see a previous tenant of the convent attempting to run from the property. The atmosphere is kept up for the runtime of the film, with its uninviting nature from most of the characters around Cecilia. The only point of companionship that she has is with a fellow nun, Sister Mary (Simona Tabasco) who she bonds with quickly. 

With her first nightfall in the convent, Sister Cecilia finds herself helping an elderly nun back to bed and in a slightly “off” situation with another nun. This seems to progress with some more experiences that eventually leads to a culmination of Sister Cecilia being pregnant. The church celebrates this miracle of immaculate conception by dressing her in religious robes and praying to her. 

The scares in the film are mostly atmospheric which I would attribute mostly to the actors that surround Sydney Sweeney. Every small part feels like one that could play a big role, and not one that’s going to be nice and fruitful for Cecilia. This along with the look and sound created locks in an uncomfortable atmosphere. 

The setting of the convent is done really well, with the cold of the old bricks emanating from every room. The scale of the building is massive, and feels it in every frame, until the film wants you to feel the claustrophobia of a space, knowing how exactly to shrink a space that once felt vast and lonely, to being a bit too close for comfort. 

The look of the film is slick, with a knowledge of the spaces its in, showing them in the light it wants, without fear of getting lost in the rooms. A lot of times, films can find a great location and then have no idea how they are going to present it well. Immaculate does a good job in utilising the space without feeling the need to showcase all of it, in an excited kid way of showing off how great their building is. 

The music is serviceable, with a mix of standard horror noise, with the addition of “church music” to really sell the religious aspect. 

Sydney Sweeney pushed to get this film made as a producer of the film, but also pulls out a really convincing “scream queen” performance that makes me want to see her in more horror films. She is able to balance the sympathy towards Cecilia along with the femme fatale of any good “final girl”.

There is also a care within this film not to completely comment on the entirety of Christianity in either a positive or negative way. It is easy for these types of films to make a big stance one way or the other (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) but for this type of horror, it is important that the whole religion isn’t being looped in. 

I look forward to more films like Immaculate, that come in lying to you about their intentions and deliver something impactful and ruthless. It is the right direction for this type of horror film. It also could be that I am so down on horror right now that I am so up on this one, but i am taking the win to the bank and celebrating the scared win. 


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