Published on March 25th, 2024 | by Richard Banks

Immaculate Review

Immaculate Review Richard Banks

Summary: Led by a solid Sweeney, Immaculate's take on nunsploitation is a shocking, gory good time.


Heaven Sent

“Did the priest get in trouble?” asks Benedetta Porcaroli’s Sister Gwen, cigarette hanging from her fingers as she looks out the window of the gorgeous, gothic convent. A panicked Sister Cecilia (Sydney Sweeney) quickly rebuffs the notion, insisting that her convent back home, sadly, just closed. It’s a simple exchange, but one that sets the scene for Immaculate’s take on religious-themed horror. The oft-scrutinised faith takes plenty of punches here, but Immaculate is at its best when it focuses on Cecilia’s battle for body autonomy – even if it loses its way occasionally before the truly excellent final act.

After surviving a childhood near-death experience which Cecilia attributes to divine intervention, she decides to devote her life to the Catholic faith. Following the closure of her State-side convent, Cecilia finds herself headhunted by Father Sal Tedeschi (Álvaro Morte), who wants Cecilia to become the latest lost lamb to join his flock. It’s here, in Tedeshi’s convent for dying nuns, that Cecilia finds herself at the centre of what appears to be a miracle, when she starts displaying the symptoms of a virgin pregnancy. 

Despite becoming the latest horror to go after religion as its central theme, Immaculate leans more toward higher concept stuff like Rosemary’s Baby than cut and paste horror such as The Nun. The convent, set in the lush, green fields of the Italian Countryside exudes broodiness. It’s a bleak castle full of dark secrets in an otherwise idyllic surrounding – and even at the movies most jovial, the dark halls and crumbling corridors are still unsettling to behold.

Director Michael Mohan and the team have done a fantastic job of taking, what’s essentially a one-location movie, and making every area of the convent feel unique and downright beautiful. Despite its colour pallette of moody greys and browns, the occasional pop of colour elevates scenes, with Sweeney, draped in blues and golds following her pregnancy reveal, a true standout moment for genuinely sumptuous visuals.

And for every gorgeous shot, Immaculate has a truly gross-out moment to tip the scales. There’s a fabulous blend of disgusting body horror and traditional spooky shots, but for every dark shadow in a corner to creep Cecilia and the viewer out, there’s a mushed up face or a grizzly close-up to have you reaching for the sick bucket. These moments aren’t played for shock, though, and even at its grimmest, Immaculate’s moving parts feel necessary to tell its horrifying tale.

But these moments would be nothing without Sweeney, who absolutely nails the scream queen moniker. Every step of Ceclia’s journey, from naive newbie, to nervous soon-to-be-mother – to that final 20 minutes – is the perfect representation of how good Sweeney is as a performer.

Still, I wish many of the movie’s best themes would have been taken further. The first two-thirds of the film waste excellent tension building on the occasional jumpscares, and while, I admit they got me a couple of times, the movie spends so much time separating itself from more traditional schlocky horror that it doesn’t always realise its wandering into that territory.

Maybe it wouldn’t matter so much if the movie was longer, but clocking in at just over 80 minutes, the moments spent with Cecilia feel fleeting enough as it is. Luckily, Immaculate saves its best for last. The final 20 minutes are some of my favourite horror moments in recent memory, with plenty of tense action, shocking scenes and incredible acting from a guttural, blood-soaked Sweeney.

While taking plenty of queues from horrors of the past, Immaculate does a fantastic job of separating itself from the pack – and it rarely missteps. Maybe with someone else front and centre, Immaculate may have ended up another B-list horror, but Sweeney demonstrates how high a calibre actor she is.


About the Author'

Back to Top ↑
  • Quick Navigation

  • Advertisement

  • Latest Posts

  • First Look

  • Join us on Facebook