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Sydney Sweeney Is A Stellar Scream Queen In Weakly Written Religious Horror Story

Summary

Immaculate’s bold choices in lighting and music build a tense atmosphere.
Sydney Sweeney delivers a strong performance as Sister Cecilia.
A lacking script and silly twists hinder Immaculate’s potential for greatness.

Rising Hollywood star Sydney Sweeney has had a recent stint of success and exposure in big-name films. From her box office success in the hit romantic comedy Anyone But You, to her dabble in the superhero genre with the critically panned Madame Web, Sweeney has proven her acting range in such diverse projects. Now, she’s returning to the horror genre with Immaculate, her second collaboration with director Michael Mohan, to tell the story of how one woman’s devout faith leads to an unspeakably evil turn of events for her planned life of peace.

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Immaculate is a 2024 horror film directed by Michael Mohan and stars Sydney Sweeney. When a devout woman named Cecilia is offered a position at a prestigious convent in Italy, she takes it with little hesitation. However, Cecilia’s world is turned upside down when she discovers the terrible secrets hidden within her new place of faith.

ProsSydney Sweeney gives a powerhouse performance from beginning to end.The lighting and music build an atmosphere of curiosity and anxiety.Elisha Christian?s cinematography captures the beautiful Italian countryside. ConsThe script is lackluster for an already-crowded horror genre.The film evolves from good storytelling to goofy twists and silly dialogue.

Immaculate Draws You In With A Curious, Anxiety-Inducing Atmosphere

In Immaculate, Sweeney plays Sister Cecilia, an American nun who uproots her life for the opportunity to serve at a remote convent in Italy. When Cecilia was younger, an accident on a frozen pond almost killed her. She believes God saved her for a reason, and she has spent her life trying to determine exactly what that reason is. Upon arrival at the Italian convent, the mostly-warm welcome brought comfort to Cecilia, giving her the confidence that her decision was the right one. But slowly and surely, the weird and unexplained reveal a sinister plan for the sincere nun.

As with most religious horror films, Mohan and screenwriter Andrew Lobel adequately set the stage for the mysterious events to come. Upon Cecilia’s arrival at the convent, certain interactions and occurrences naturally build curiosity. As an example, the obligatory mean girl nun, Sister Isabella (Giulia Heathfield Di Renzi), finds any opportunity to chastise Sister Cecilia with mockery and unkind commentary from the moment she sets foot at the convent. With nuns generally having a generous and good-natured reputation, Sister Isabella’s behavior sends warning signals to viewers.

Immaculate

Director michael mohan

Release Date March 22, 2024

Studio(s) Fifty-Fifty Films , Black Bear

Distributor(s) Neon

Writers Andrew Lobel

Cast Sydney Sweeney , Álvaro Morte , Benedetta Porcaroli , Dora Romano , Giorgio Colangeli , Simona Tabasco

Runtime 89 minutes

As the story progresses, curiosity may turn into anxiety thanks to some abnormal behaviors and odd encounters that Cecilia experiences. At these moments, the lighting evokes feelings of terror while the sharp music complements the sinister vibes already established. I am even willing to go so far as to say that the bold choices implemented up front contribute to the stunning ending that solidifies Sydney Sweeney as a scream queen in her own right.

Strong Early Writing Plummets To Poor Storytelling & Silly Dialogue

But truth be told, the script is the one thing holding Immaculate back from reaching horror greatness and becoming a classic within this specific genre. With the writing evolving from a curious examination of Cecilia’s walk with God to a revelation of how she then deals with adversity, Immaculate indeed started off strong. But like many horror films, its quality quickly plummeted, hinging on nothing more than a silly twist with unchallenged plot holes and ridiculous dialogue to match.

The bold choices implemented up front contribute to the stunning ending that solidifies Sydney Sweeney as a scream queen.

But one thing’s for sure, in the moments the script takes giant leaps in its storytelling, Sweeney is right there to demonstrate her ability to perform with a range of emotions and physicality. From the naïve nun who first entered the convent, to the badass woman hellbent on surviving, Sydney’s transformation is one that is worthy of watching on the big screen.

Still, Immaculate doesn’t break any barriers, nor does it offer new avenues of storytelling for an already crowded genre of nun-inspired horror films. The standouts are certainly more on the technical side, with Elisha Christian’s cinematography, Will Bates’ score, and Mohan’s close-ups. Then, there’s Sweeney, who, without a shadow of a doubt, convinced me of her acting skills thanks to what she was able to accomplish through her emotional and physical performance. As far as being comparable to the greats, like Rosemary’s Baby (from which this film has clear inspirations), Immaculate doesn’t hold a candle to them.

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