Star Rating:


Director: Michael Mohan

Actors: Sydney Sweeney, Alvaro Morte, Simona Tabasco

Release Date: Friday 22nd March 2024

Genre(s): Horror

Running time: 88 minutes

Cecilia (Sydney Sweeney), a woman of devout faith, travels to Italy to begin working in a prestigious convent in Italy that treats nuns nearing the end of their lives. While at first, the convent is picture-perfect and the priest (Álvaro Morte) seems welcoming and friendly, it soon becomes clear that the convent hides a terrible secret and that Cecilia's arrival was seemingly preordained...

Although 'Immaculate' has all the hallmarks of a grisly horror with Sydney Sweeney cast in the role of scream queen, there are a lot of thematic similarities with Sydney Sweeney's own life that bubbles right under the surface. Namely, a lot of men being very, very weird about Sydney Sweeney's character's body, and why her character goes along with it until she doesn't.

For much of the movie, Sydney Sweeney's character is surrounded by men and women - mostly men, doctors and priests especially - who view and treat her at first with an overbearing hospitality, but then shifts into a reverence that quickly veers into obsession. It's not even so much her as it's what she represents, and though the obsession is made up of supposed religious piety, it's still about controlling her no matter what and her fulfilling her duty. Again, you only need to take a cursory glance around the internet and the discourse to see why this tracks with how the lead actor is perceived.

For her part, Sweeney is more than equal to the role. In previous roles like 'Reality', Sweeney is capable of internalising fear and terror without making it seem histrionic or overacted. It also helps that she's probably able to empathise with being obsessed over by a lot of men, though 'Immaculate' never quite needles it as finely as it could. Álvaro Morte, who previously played a calculating villain with ease following his performance in Netflix's 'Money Heist', does what he can with the script he's given, but the subtlety goes out the window pretty quickly.

'Immaculate' goes for broad strokes and spins up a B-movie plot that tracks a reasonably familiar path through to its conclusion. At 90 minutes, 'Immaculate' moves along with a fairly stately, considered rhythm until the final twenty minutes when it goes for out-and-out body horror that it probably should have arrived at sooner. Indeed, 'Immaculate' takes itself far too seriously at points when it probably would have been more enjoyable if it leaned into the obvious campiness. Yet, in the last five minutes, the movie goes from gruesome to shocking in a way that more than earns its rating as Sweeney brings 'Immaculate' to a sickeningly satisfying halt.