Those of you who were reading this blog way back in 2014 may remember my review of Tommy Faircloth’s Dorchester’s Revenge: The Return Of Crinoline Head (which was subsequently retitled Dollface for those of you keeping score).
It was a brilliant slasher flick with gore, humour and some serious style, and it promptly made me a fan of Faircloth.
I went on to review his extremely cool short, The Cabin, and then his chilling supernatural flick Family Possessions, all of which received glowing reviews here at The House.
The start of a new decade comes with a new movie from Horsecreek Productions - A Nun’s Curse, and I was kindly asked to review it ahead of release.
Would this prove hits are becoming a habit for Faircloth? Or would this sister act be one to miss?
A NUN’S CURSE (2019)
Dir: Tommy Faircloth
Starring: Felissa Rose, Erika Edwards, Kristi Ray, Damian Maffei, Gunner Willis
SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not to spoil too much here but read on at your own risk.
A group of four fun-loving youngsters on a road trip take a ghoulish detour when timid budding photographer Ashley-Kae, (Edwards) asks that they stop at an atmospheric burnt down church to capture some snaps.
Strolling deep into the woods, it emerges that Ashley-Kae has been haunted by nightmares of a malevolent nun since childhood.
When horny asshole Anthony (Maffei) reveals that he has lost the keys to their car, he, Ashley-Kae, her spoilt princess sister Gabby (Ray), and loveable geek Michael (Willis) are forced to take shelter in a grim, dilapidated abandoned prison.
But this is not just any abandoned prison - it is the former stomping ground of Sister Monday (Rose) - a murderous nun who used her position to punish the sinners incarcerated within.
Now, while the youngsters bicker as relationship revelations come to light, they are unaware that the tales of the sinister sister may be more than just legend...
THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): While A Nun’s Curse may not have the sort of colossal budget you might expect of a big studio genre movie, this is no cheap-looking indie flick.
A Nun’s Curse drips atmosphere from every frame and makes the most of some fantastic locations. Director Faircloth has always shown a keen eye for striking shots and this could well be his best-looking movie to date. The sequence within the ruins of the church looks stunning, while the dank, shadowy interiors of the prison make for a suitably chilling setting for the sequences featuring the diabolical Sister Monday.
It certainly helps that the always fantastic Rose is the one wearing the habit and wimple. Genre icon Rose plays the nun with an icy malevolence, and makes the very best of her limited screen time.
And she is far from the only cast-member to impress.
Edwards stood out as a talent to watch in Family Possessions and she is just as excellent here. Hers is a complex character, one that needs to combine both sympathetic and at times unnerving elements, and she delivers admirably.
Willis may also be recognisable to those familiar with Faircloth’s work after his appearance in Dollface. The nicest of the characters, his Michael is funny, and one you can’t help but root for. This is entirely down to his ability as an actor. I can’t wait to see more from him.
Maffei is making waves in the genre right now, having starred as the Man in the Mask in the criminally underrated sequel The Strangers: Prey At Night, and he shows why he has caught the eye of filmmakers with an assured, charismatic turn as Anthony. A character who would have been intensely unlikeable in lesser hands, Maffei injects just enough wit into the performance to make his performance shine.
The same can be said of Pieces of Talent’s Ray, who provides plenty of laughs as bad girl Gabby. She’s a fine actress and one I look forward to seeing more from in the future.
Of course, it helps that the cast have such a strong script to work with. Faircloth has always written sparkling, witty dialogue and that continues here. There are plenty of strong gags without the onscreen conversation ever sounding unnatural.
Faircloth’s writing ability is also obvious in the clever plot and, without wanting to give to much away, some defy zigzagging totally threw me when I thought I’d guessed how the movie was going to end. Bravo!
Finally, while the movie boasts wit and intelligence, it doesn’t forego the frights - or gore!
A couple of decidedly messy kills will definitely satisfy the splatter fans out there (and rank among some of the most gruesome I have seen in a very long time) while top drawer make-up effects by Redhouse FX make the nightmare demon a legitimately unnerving creation.
THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): In truth, there is very little with which to find fault in this genre gem.
I suppose it’s worth pointing out that while A Nun’s Curse is an extremely impressive indie horror flick, it does not have the resources available to it that big-budget blockbusters such as the cinematic output of A24 or Blumhouse. It still looks great but do adjust your expectations accordingly.
As I mentioned earlier, I would have loved to see a little more of the always wonderful Felissa Rose. Still, what we get is quite fantastic, so I suppose it’s a testament to her and the Sister Monday character that I wanted more!
The small cast is great, and the fact that the core group is pretty tight means we get plenty of time to get to know them well and care about them. However, one downside to this is that it does limit the body count somewhat. We do get a couple of extra slayings in some cleverly used flashback sequences but those of you seeking death after death might be disappointed. However, rest assured that the ones you do get more than deliver!
THE VERDICT: Make no bones about it, A Nun’s Curse is a genuinely great horror movie. Brilliantly combining elements of the supernatural, psychological and slasher sub-genres, it’s a resounding success. Mixing fun and frights with some soul and plenty of smarts, A Nun’s Curse is another hit under the very talented Tommy Faircloth’s belt. It comes highly, highly recommended.
A Nun’s Curse will be released through Uncork’d Entertainment in June. Check it out then!
In the meantime, why not read more about the movie at its official Facebook page. Be sure to give it a Like while you’re there, quality indie horror such as this deserves your support.
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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.