Immaculate (Blu-ray)

Cecilia, a woman of devout faith, is warmly welcomed to the picture-perfect Italian countryside where she is offered a new role at an illustrious convent. But it becomes clear to Cecilia that her new home harbors dark and horrifying secrets.

June 10, 2024 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Ah, religion and politics – two things I wish we had far less of in the world. But, alas, we do not. Focusing on the former, I’ll come out and say that I’m not the most religious person. On one hand, I want to believe but the way I’m wired (logical) just says…I can’t do it. But I won’t turn this into a theological debate, no one’s to say who’s right and who’s wrong. Well, I guess there are plenty who will say who’s right and who’s wrong – that’s one of my problems with religion. But, turning our attention to the wonderful world of film, movies about religion are, by and large, scary. I’ve often wondered why. Do they prey upon people’s beliefs? Do they show divine power and all its capable of? Or do they just want to make an entertaining film and horror is the best/most effective way to go about it? Whatever the case, we’ve got Immaculate. And if you know anything about religion, you’ll get the title. If not, you won’t be lost – it’s pretty easy to figure out.

I’ll preface this plot section by saying that there’s a central twist to this film and to let the cat out of the bag would be very unfair to those that haven’t seen the film. Fear not though, there’s plenty to discuss. Sister Cecilia (Sydney Sweeney) has just arrived at a convent in the lush, Italian countryside. She’s quickly greeted and warned that Father Sal (Álvaro Morte) has a knack for recruiting “broken birds.” And it’s not long after arriving that Cecilia finds herself…pregnant. This is especially significant seeing how she’s a virgin. I trust I won’t need to spell out the film’s title and Cecilia’s “condition.” The film essentially follows her as she tries to make sense of this scenario, though she does witness things taking place behind the scenes that are simply…eerie. We get a bit more backstory with some obvious clues to the film’s third act: we learn of catacombs under the convent that are “off limits” so we know they factor in later. And so forth.

The film works on a few levels and it does so in a very unique way. On one hand we could look at it as a woman trying to do what she wants with her own body. And yes, there’s a clear parallel to a certain court case that was recently overturned. You read between the lines. On another level we find that the “church officials” are doing “God’s work” and when you’re doing the work of the lord, it’s very easy to justify anything and everything to complete the mission. This is my main been with Christianity. I actually worked at a church and we were praying for someone who had Cancer. I was told that if she lived, it was due to the “power of prayer” and if she died that it was simply “God’s will.” I said “Well that’s pretty convenient.” It wasn’t long after my statement that I was looking for a new job. My personal jaded history aside, I have to say that I enjoyed this one more than I thought. And this really isn’t the film to ogle Sydney Sweeney’s body – there are other films for that. Take it with a grain of salt and you’ll have a good time.

Video: How’s it look?

Having been to the Italian countryside once in my life, I can say that this film has a few moments that are breathtakingly beautiful. And, let’s face it, Sydney Sweeney isn’t exactly hard on the eyes. But, by and large, this 1.85:1 AVC HD encode does veer towards the darker side (for obvious reasons). I really had no issues with black crush, blocking or anything else negative that can be associated with a “darker-themed” film. Flesh tones are a bit on the muted side, though some of the sweeping views more than make up for it. Let’s face it, at this point in time any new to Blu-ray film will look pretty darn good. This is no exception.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The film’s DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is used, most of the time, to great effect. As we might imagine when the movie turns into the “horror” part, we get an uptick in the audio. By and large, the spacious soundstage is used wisely and effectively with the front stage taking on the burden of the mix. Surrounds, when used, do offer up a bit more ambiance. Vocals, as expected, are pure, sharp and crisp. It’s a good-sounding mix that’ll surely please.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – The film’s only supplement comes in the form of an audio commentary with director Michael Mohan. Mohan is pretty articulate and describes what he was trying to accomplish with the film, the casting, the locale and all the other ‘essential’ parts of a decent track. Obviously, like the film itself, it’s not too long so fans should get a kick out of it. I did.

The Bottom Line

In the pantheon of “religious horror” films this one isn’t exactly at the top of my list, but it’s a lot better than I was expecting. Sydney Sweeney’s performance was amazing as well. I wasn’t expecting that (rather “just another pretty face”). The film looks and sounds good, but with only one extra – this one might a hard sell.

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