The Movie Waffler First Look Review - A NUN’S CURSE | The Movie Waffler

First Look Review - A NUN’S CURSE

a nun's curse review
A group of friends fall prey to an undead Nun.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Tommy Faircloth

Starring: Felissa Rose, Damian Maffei, Gunner Willis, Kristi Ray, Erika Edwards

a nun's curse poster

Films about creepy nuns have always been around, but the recent Annabelle movies and The Nun have seen a resurgence of this sub-genre, and in this girl's opinion, no one has nailed the formula to really fire up an audience yet.

This film also fails to completely make use of all the tools at its disposal, but it's better than The Nun, I’ll give it that.

a nun's curse review

We are introduced to our four hapless friends (Ashlee, Anthony, Michael and Gabby) as they peruse an abandoned and burnt down convent. They were on their way to a weekend away and have stopped here to humour Gabby’s little sis, Ashlee (A-Kae, as they call her), who wishes to take pictures of the place for her thesis. Helpfully, she knows all the back history and is happy to tell them the delightful tale of Sister Monday (horror royalty Felissa Rose, Sleepaway Camp).

In 1945, the convent burned down under mysterious circumstances, and legend has it that Sister Monday then worked at a nearby prison where it's alleged she was handing out her own form of murderous retribution and punishment to the prisoners housed there. The friends are just humouring A-Kae but when it starts bucketing down with rain and the car keys are mysteriously missing, they are forced to take shelter at the closest building, which is, as luck would have it, the old abandoned prison where Sister Monday is said to still haunt the halls.

It's here that we get to know our fearsome foursome, who are made up of randy, argue-like-an-old-couple Gabrielle and her tough-guy boyfriend Anthony; ridiculously-tall resident nerd Michael; and Gabby’s younger, studious sister A-Kae.

They splinter into pairs soon after arriving with the couple taking the time to chip at each other, and the friends exploring the prison building.

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Before long, A-Kae and Michael find an old ledger which lists the resident prisoners. "That makes it all real," A-Kae says, all wide eyes and hushed voice.

Geek Michael is sweet on A-Kae and is happy to explore the prison with her; but after one too many renditions of the tales her late father told her about killer nuns, he gets spooked and is happy to let her explore alone.

A-Kae is writing her thesis on local legends and feels she’s hit the goldmine with the old prison.

Now separated into easily dealt-with individuals, it might be time for Sister Monday to do what she does best.

a nun's curse review

This film from writer/director Tommy Faircloth is trashy fun. It fully embraces the silliness but also manages to pack in one or two effective jump scares, and some unexpected character development and complexity.

The flashbacks to the deaths of the prisoners are actually reasonably well done; the effects work and the actors chosen to play the victims play their parts well.

But when it comes to our unfortunate quartet and how they may or may not meet their makers, there is one penile scene that is particularly laughable in so many ways. The violence meted out in the present day is done in such a perfunctory fashion; the lack of reaction and response to what’s being inflicted removes much needed authenticity from the scenes.

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Making do with what is essentially one set - the prison - the use of space is important and utilised effectively; and the fact that the film doesn’t overstay its welcome lengthwise is definitely a point in its favour.

I also enjoyed the use of lighting; the neon blues that splash about some scenes are a feast for the eye, and certainly give the film a striking painterly look.

The nun make-up works well in dim lighting but when she’s fully illuminated she does look like someone has drawn on her face with a sharpie pen.

a nun's curse review

All the actors give good performances, with Gunner Willis as Michael exuding natural charm, and Damian Maffei as Anthony confident and magnetic. I also have to say that after Felissa Rose’s OTT performance in the last film I reviewed - Rootwood - she certainly redeems herself here with the more restrained Sister Monday.

This is a film of inexorably long build up to a resolution that lasts all of five minutes, but in saying that, I rather enjoyed the double twist in the finale.

Maybe the Nunsploitation genre isn’t so dead after all.

A Nun's Curse is on US DVD/Digital May 12th. A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.

2020 movie reviews