Immaculate Review – IGN

Religious Horror Reimagined: A Review of Immaculate

Immaculate opens in theaters March 22. This review is based on a screening at the 2024 SXSW Film Festival.

Religious horror has evolved over the years, with Neon’s new Catholic-themed horror movie Immaculate taking a unique approach to the genre. The film explores the dissolution of our heroine’s hometown parish as the driving force behind her decision to become a nun in Italy. Sister Gwen and Sister Cecilia engage in thought-provoking conversations about the Catholic Church’s history of sexual abuse, shedding light on real-life horrors in a symbolic manner.

Immaculate sets a haunting tone from the start, with eerie visuals and a gothic atmosphere. As Cecilia navigates her new life at the Our Lady of Sorrows convent, strange occurrences begin to unravel. The film beautifully captures the dichotomy between the peaceful, countryside setting and the dark secrets hidden beneath the surface.

The Slow Burn of Suspense

Cecilia’s gradual realization of the sinister forces at play at the convent is a key element of the film, albeit one that takes its time to fully materialize. Sydney Sweeney’s portrayal of Cecilia exudes a sense of quiet strength, building towards a climactic ending that is both shocking and satisfying. Immaculate’s finale delivers the intense, blood-soaked performance needed to drive home its message.

Director Michael Mohan’s use of jump scares and musical cues adds to the suspense, but at times, it feels like a reliance on conventional horror tropes. The film’s potential – from its macabre setting to the rising star power of its cast – is occasionally overshadowed by these predictable scares.