“My brother all the time believed I had a guardian angel. I used to imagine in nothing. Now I’m not so positive,” a voiceover tells us simply as a nun pulls a gun and goals it straight on the digital camera. Thus begins Christopher Smith’s newest horror movie, “Consecration.” If solely the remainder of the movie had been as invigorating as this opening sequence. As a substitute, the movie proves to be simply one other retread of “spooky” Catholic-themed horror tropes with out including any perception or originality to the subgenre.
The voiceover belongs to Grace (Jena Malone, who cannot decide an accent. British? Scottish? Who is aware of!), who has come to the Mount Saviour Convent in Scotland, after she learns her brother, a priest, has died there beneath mysterious circumstances. The grounds of Mount Saviour date again to the twelfth century when its authentic inhabitants—often known as the Knights of the Morning Star—got here to hunt penance after the Crusades. It’s additionally very most likely cursed.
Grace learns from DCI Harris (Thoren Ferguson) that her brother killed one other priest after which killed himself. Grace refuses to imagine he’s able to both act. Neither does the kooky Mom Superior (Janet Suzman), who tells them he was possessed by a demon, and each deaths had been in an effort to overcome that possession. Additionally within the combine is Father Romero (Danny Huston), who has come from the Vatican to re-consecrate the grounds to cleanse them after the brutal deaths.
From there, the movie goes off the rails with copious flashbacks and potential hallucinations of Grace’s troubled childhood, creepy-looking non secular ceremonies occurring within the twelfth century, and visions of nuns and clergymen flinging themselves off the cliffs to their deaths. None of those numerous threads are ever woven collectively very efficiently, leaving the core story muddled, and the ultimate reveal each preposterous and extremely apparent.
Malone is out of her component right here, by no means capable of finding a modicum of fact in Grace’s journey. Is she a grieving sister decided to uncover the reality of her brother’s loss of life? A misplaced soul in want of a religious awakening? A girl who suppressed an abused childhood confronting the abuser? Any considered one of these motivations would have labored to root the efficiency in some type of emotional fact, even when the plotting swerves into the realm of the fantastical.
Not one of the supporting characters are given a lot depth, both. Father Romero appears to exist solely to share exposition with the viewers by explaining issues to Grace. Mom Superior and her coterie of nuns placed on a spookshow each likelihood they get, both by cryptic dialogue or the mutilation of their our bodies. They’re eerie, positive, however every nun that Grace interacts with has no distinctive character outdoors of their zealous struggling. “Consecration” doesn’t see them as individuals, simply vessels for portentous speeches and ritual violence.
Together with Smith and co-writer Laurie Cook dinner’s cliche-ridden script, a lot of the imagery of the movie is equally lazy. Figures float behind Grace as she investigates numerous rooms. Typically the nuns contort their heads to the facet for completely no cause, as in the event that they’re making an attempt out to be extras in Ken Russell’s “The Devils.” A number of sequences look like lifted straight from that far superior movie about non secular mania and fanaticism.
Regardless of beautiful places, co-cinematographers Rob Hart and Shaun Mone shoot the verdant hills and historic buildings with out a lot panache, favoring murky darkness at nearly each flip, whether or not characters are inside a hospital, police station, rectory, or out on a cliff. There’s additionally little visible distinction between the timelines, mixing inexorably collectively in a means which may have been attention-grabbing if the precise throughline weren’t so muddled in execution on the script stage.
The voiceover from the start repeats itself because the movie hurtles in the direction of its preposterous ending, the earlier 90 minutes apparently present to elucidate to the viewers why Grace is now “not so positive” what she believes, but most of what’s revealed has solely been proven to the viewers, to not Grace herself. Maybe it is an excessive amount of to anticipate any sort of logic within the plotting of a movie like this, however is it an excessive amount of to ask that the construction have some?
Grace herself hasn’t gone by any sort of disaster of religion. There is no such thing as a second wherein Grace has a “come to Jesus” second, a dialog with God. Nothing. It is a movie that makes use of a surface-level understanding of the rituals—and violent historical past—of the church as a backdrop for its motion. It desires to be about historic mysticism and pageantry and corruption however has no idea of the spirituality wherein this stuff are rooted.
A primary understanding of this spirituality is important for an exploration of the stress between devotion and hysteria. Sadly, “Consecration” has no actual curiosity in really inspecting that pressure whereas additionally proving itself to be irritating on a pure horror stage as a consequence of its overly sophisticated script, reliance on visible cliches, and lackluster ending.