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Friday, March 22, 2024 | Reviews


Starring Sidney Sweeney, Álvaro Morte, and Simona Tabasco
Written by Andrew Lobel
Directed by Michael Mohan

When bright-eyed Sister Cecilia (Sydney Sweeney) arrives at a picturesque convent in the Italian countryside, she’s greeted warmly by the upper clergy, particularly Father Sal (Álvaro Morte). Eager to take her vows of servitude and celibacy, she encounters a troubling wrinkle for her monastic future when she’s discovered to be pregnant. Her hymen was intact when she arrived, asserts the doctor eagerly. Cecilia denies any cloistered hanky-panky, and incredibly, everyone believes her. Now elevated to the status of literal sacred vessel, Cecilia becomes aware that her immaculate conception isn’t the only strange thing going on at the convent…

Visually, there’s a lot to love about IMMACULATE, especially for us lapsed Catholics who wished they could enjoy the candlelight, choirs, and cathedrals without all the gosh darn God of it all. At a tight 90 minutes, some red herrings in the plot run the clock, but they’re pretty enough to look at so you won’t mind. Religious horror works best when it goes hard (see: The Devils, don’t see: The Nun), and this one is impressively brutal when it needs to be, spilling the red stuff like so much blood of Christ. What’s especially miraculous about IMMACULATE is the ending. Not only does Sweeney dispel any doubt that such a doe-eyed celebutante has legit scream queen chops with a prolonged cut of agonized caterwauling (eat your heart out, Mia Goth), but the film’s punctuation mark drives a dull nail right into current American affairs concerning women being denied control of their own bodies. This is the future horror fans want!

Andrea Subissati
Executive editor; Rue Morgue Magazine