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Film Review: IMMACULATE (2024): A Solid Lead Turn by Sydney Sweeney Rises This Bloody Horror Film Up a Notch

Sydney Sweeney Immaculate

Immaculate Review

Immaculate (2024) Film Review, a movie directed by Michael Mohan, written by Andrew Lobel and starring Sydney Sweeney, Alvaro Morte, Simona Tabasco, Benedetta Porcaroli, Giorgio Colangeli, Dora Romano, Giampiero Judica, Betty Pedrazzi, Giuseppe Lo Piccolo and Niccolo Senni.

After seeing director Michael Mohan’s blood-soaked new horror film, Immaculate, you may have sworn Ari Aster directed it had you not known Mohan did. This movie is a twisted horror picture that rivals Aster’s Midsommar in terms of its horrific, disturbing nature. But, then again, to think it was Aster when it was, indeed, Mohan bodes well for Mohan’s directorial future. Mohan’s got talent. Immaculate is not as good as Midsommar but the new film’s star, Sydney Sweeney (Anyone but You) is just as good as Florence Pugh was in Aster’s 2019 masterpiece. Both pictures feature strong women in disturbing situations that will test their will-power immensely.

Immaculate is a good enough film, for the most part, but the ending almost makes it feel a bit like a wasted opportunity since the outcome of the main character Cecilia (Sweeney)’s ultimate fate is, more or less, left up in the air. This is the major problem with an otherwise satisfactory, although undeniably gory, horror picture.

This movie’s main plot begins with a nun being buried alive after trying to escape from a group of eerie religious folks. This nun tries to steal the keys from a superior and leave the over-sized property she is residing on. But, she ends up underground in a box in a twisted revelation that sets the stage for what is to come. We meet the young woman of faith named Cecilia who is ready to take her dedication to the Lord to the next level. After seeing the beginning, you’ll want to tell Cecilia, “Oh, girl, you should turn back now.”

On, her way to Italy, Cecilia has a hard time getting through customs which doesn’t seem to think she’s really going there to be a nun, at first. Soon, Cecilia gets to the convent where she thinks she needs to be and her faith is tested by the cast of characters at large in the film. There is a nun or two who believes something sinister is going on within. Nuns such as those, though, don’t live very long or get their tongues cut off so they can stop running their traps.

One of the many big plot revelations is that Cecilia ends up pregnant. She’s had a troubled past and, now, she seems to be bringing a miracle baby into the world. That’s all good and well but Cecilia thinks there’s more going on than meets the eye, especially considering the wicked nature of Father Sal Tedeschi (Alvaro Morte in a chilling performance). How much does one reveal in a review like this when what happens in the plot is so twisted and surprising? Not much. If you’re a horror fan, this movie is best left watched with an open mind because what happens is brilliantly creepy and intense.

Cecilia ends up covered in blood and needs Father Sal and company to take her to a hospital. There’s a lot going on here, though. Much more than meets the eye. Sweeney plays the character of Cecilia cautiously as she goes into her chosen fate with optimism and slowly grows suspicious of those around her. We won’t mention Mother Superior (a well-cast Dora Romano) who makes for a very intriguing plot development.

Immaculate is one tense and disturbing movie. It’s almost impossible not to talk about the ending scenes because they are so terrifying and masterfully crafted. Even before that, there’s a gruesome scene where crosses are burnt into Cecilia’s feet. That scene is ultra-hard to watch but if you think that’s all the movie has in store, wait until you see a character pull her fingernail out on screen. Then, there’s that nun whose tongue is cut off. If you’re still reading this review then this movie’s for you. If you’re not reading anymore, you’ve gotten the hint and moved on to a review of the new Ghostbusters movie.

A late scene through an underground tunnel is particularly strong and watching Cecilia and Father Sal face off in the end is suspenseful and the closing scenes are, without a doubt, nerve-wracking to watch. The whole problem with the movie, though, is when Cecilia goes AWOL and starts killing people as her water breaks and she’s about to give birth. The movie’s realism is simply not there in any way, shape or form. This becomes one exercise in terror where you will have to check your brain at the candy stand in order to watch Cecilia do everything she can to fight for her life.

Much has been made about the last scene of the movie and the film is only a day old. I didn’t really care for the last moments of the film but Sweeney’s performance is amazingly proficient. She’s automatically a new scream queen to be reckoned with. Sweeney looks like she put the time into understanding the role and she gets an “A” for understanding the assignment and carrying out her performance effectively and efficiently.

Though the very conclusion of the picture will sharply divide audiences, Immaculate is an intense, spooky move that will frighten the viewer to the core. That’s the bottom line. Sweeney’s great. The thrills are there. But, the blood and gore, unfortunately, could make this a specialty picture that will appeal to devout horror movie fans more than anyone else dabbling across genres.

Rating: 6.5/10

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