(director/writer: Christopher Smith; screenwriter: Laurie Cook; cinematographer: Shaun Mone/Rob Hart; editor: Arthur Davis; music: Nathan Halpern; cast: Jena Malone (Grace), Danny Huston (Father Romero), Ian Pirie (Grace’s brutal Vincent), Janet Suzman (Mother Superior), Thoren Ferguson (DCI Harris), Steffan Cennydd (Michael); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Laurie Cook, Jason Newmark, Casey Herbert, Xavier Marchand, Stuart Ford; IFC Midnight/Shudder; 2023-USA/UK)
“A doomed Catholic themed psychological horror film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A doomed Catholic themed psychological horror film, set in a gloomy Scotland, directed by Brit filmmaker Christopher Smith (“The Banishing”/”Get Santa”) and co-written with Laurie Cook.
Grace (Jena Malone) lives alone in a London apartment with her cat. She works as an eye doctor’s assistant. When her estranged priest brother (Steffan Cennydd) allegedly commits suicide she’s called to a remote Scottish convent at the Isle of Skye. Not trusting what she’s been told by the convent, she’s consoled and helped by a visiting Vatican priest, Father Romero (Danny Huston), and uncovers a murder and sacrilege plot over lost relics, and something unsettling about her past. It turns out the priest is using her to uncode a convent investigation message her brother wrote in a code she used with him as kids.
She suspects a church cover-up before realizing she must confront dark secrets within her family’s past concerning curses and relics. Along the way, there’s some disturbing imagery. But, the suspense falls short as the incoherent final act becomes a blood bath, as the story fails to hold together in a satisfactory way.
REVIEWED ON 2/13/2023 GRADE: C+