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More than you bargained for

Arts critic says “Immaculate” was disturbing to the core
More+than+you+bargained+for
via immaculate.film

Rating: 6/10

While some may call it “art” and “cinematic mastery,” I call it deeply disturbing. I will never look at Sydney Sweeney the same again. 

Spoilers ahead for “Immaculate.”

“Immaculate” follows the story of a young American nun, Sister Cecilia, in her quest to find God’s true purpose for her after a near-death experience at the age of 12. Her new home in the convent yields mysterious happenings such as apparitions in the hallways and strange visions in her dreams. Between The Nun II and “Immaculate,” I think I’ll keep my distance from convents for a while. 

With only an hour and a half runtime, the plot quickly progresses to Cecilia discovering that she is pregnant despite still being a virgin. Her pregnancy was deemed an immaculate conception. When the male leaders of the church forbid her to go to an outside hospital, Cecilia discovers that there is more that lies behind the walls of the Italian convent.

The major twist in the movie that changes everything for heroine Cecilia is when she discovers that Father Sal, the man who has been treating her, isn’t actually a man of faith, but a mad scientist. Using the DNA of Jesus Christ found on a relic, Father Sal was able to impregnate young Cecilia to create a replica of Christ. 

It’s giving Jurassic Park, but make it Jesus. 

Throughout the movie there are several plot lines that I expected to be resolved at the end. Creepy red masked nuns, the science trials done by Father Sal and many more unnecessary elements go unanswered. I truly think that if the movie had gone on for another 30 minutes, all of my questions could have been answered. The runtime was very short and left many plot holes, but I don’t think my stomach could have handled another 30 minutes. 

I am not a squeamish person by any means, but this “horror” movie should have been classified as a slasher. If you are someone who is sensitive to blood, graphic violence, vomit or basically any bodily fluid, I would recommend that you sit this one out. I found myself having to look away from the screen multiple times because I simply didn’t need or want to see what was being shown.

The first gruesomely graphic scene was after a nun decided to take her own life by jumping out of a window followed by a close up of her body and all of the trauma that occurred to her face. Very unnecessary if you ask me. Another scene towards the end depicted Cecilia bludgeoning the Reverend Mother to death with a cross. In this scene you can see all of the graphic details of the attack, including close ups of the Reverend Mother’s injuries.   

By far the most disturbing scene in the movie was the grand finale when Sweeney finally gives birth to her “child.” I use the word “child” loosely because it’s never actually referred to as a human baby in the movie. There is actually speculation, according to interviews with Sweeney, that the “thing” might not be human at all. You only see a blurred black and red shape for a split second right before Sweeney picks up a boulder, crushes and kills whatever she just gave birth to.  

While Cecilia is giving birth, the camera focuses on her bloody and twisted face while she screams. For almost four minutes, all the audience can see and hear is blood curdling screams, blood, spit and tears. The scene was deeply disturbing. 

After what feels like ages, the audience can hear a plop where we can assume the “child” was born. Soon after, Sweeney picks up the umbilical cord and tears it with her teeth. Gross. Gone are the days of “Euphoria” and “Anyone But You.” 

“Immaculate” is an excellent demonstration of Sweeney’s versatility as an actress, which might be reason enough to see the film for some. While “Immaculate” was nothing like what I expected it to be, I was pleasantly surprised with the plot line and cast. If you choose to step into the theater, just be prepared to see more of Sweeney than you probably bargained for.  

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