March 14, 2024

GENRE | Sydney Sweeney Births 'Immaculate' x SXSW 2024

"This is not God's work!"
Sydney Sweeney Michael Mohan | Immaculate Neon
SXSW Film & TV Festival
Actress Sydney Sweeney (also a producer) reteams with her The Voyeurs director Michael Mohan in this religious psychological horror thriller. Clearly inspired by the 1960-70s Italian giallo cinematic movement and nunsploitation subgenre, Immaculate elevates its pulpy material until a wildly memorable final act but never quite commits to its attempted audaciousness.

Screenwriter Andrew Lobel wastes little time in the spry ninety-minute runtime as the film makes the strange happenings at this palatial Italian countryside convent fairly obvious. Sweeney's Sister Cecilia, who, as the title suggests, becomes mysteriously pregnant despite her devout chastity, catches on in contrast to her initially innocent American foreigner demeanour. Her dialled-back performances serve the creepy film well before her defiant "final girl" turn. Its sinister deployment of defiant faith as a weapon for gaslighting and manipulation serves the film's increasingly bonkers premise well.

Mohan and Sweeney tackle religious horror with a slow burn bent before going all-out. Immaculate would have benefited from going even further and dialling up both the tension and camp. The film commits, but the truly batsh*t crazy finale could have better elevated from sowing its camp horror violence earlier and throughout before the reason behind the virgin pregnancy. However, it doesn't quite have the conviction of its own aims.

Immaculate premiered at the 2024 South by Southwest Film & TV Festival (Austin, Texas) as part of the Headliners section.

More | YVArcade / Chronicle / Indiewire / Inverse

0 reactions:

Post a Comment