23rd Apr2020

‘A Nun’s Curse’ Review

by Dom Hastings

Stars: Felissa Rose, Damian Maffei, Gunner Willis, Kristi Ray, Jason Vail, Erika Edwards | Written and Directed by Tommy Faircloth

“Prisoners begged for mercy…they got nun.”

In horror cinema, groups of young adults always seem to find themselves entering spooky or abandoned locations… Will they ever learn?

Opening in a palette of creepy-cool midnight blue, Ashley-Kae (Erika Edwards) retells her nighttime childhood entailing her fear of the terrifying Sister Monday (Felissa Rose) hidden under the bed, in her closet, and in her head. In the present day, however, she leads a group consisting of her sister, her sister’s boyfriend, and a classmate. At first, in Ashley being a keen photographer, the group take a stop on their travels (much to the dismay of the sister and her boyfriend), so that Ashley is able to capture a few shots for her thesis, but that isn’t her only desire. Only a short distance away is an abandoned prison… Unlike other abandoned prisons, this one is special because during its operation, Sister Monday murdered the inmates.

Anthony (Damian Maffei), being as clumsy as he is a humour merchant, loses his car keys for the group’s vehicle. Oh no… what a coincidence, it looks like they will have to travel to the abandoned prison after all to gain shelter and wait for help. Like Anthony, Ashley’s sister Gabby (Kristi Ray) is fuming over this unwanted diversion from their fancy cabin/summer house destination, whereas fellow student Michael (Gunner Willis) is cautious, but doesn’t really care. When they finally get to the prison, tensions begin to rise, and inevitably, they spit-up in pairs, and again into individuals when night-time occurs. During this potential night of terror, the real question is whether the prison’s haunting is legitimate or whether this is just Ashley’s fantasy.

On the outside, A Nun’s Curse has got stereotype after stereotype written all over it, however, that isn’t quite the case…thankfully. Instead of pursuing the easy one-by-one death commonly apparent in horrors featuring a group of young adults entering a suspicious, monster-inhabited location, we are instead presented with a more atmospheric, and almost psychological horror. The film does play out to suggest the former, but as A Nun’s Curse gradually transcends away from that mould, all predictions and expectations go out the window, thus establishing a much welcomed unpredictability.

On a technical level, A Nun’s Curse provides arguably some of the best night-time sequences witnessed in horror. A series of 3D-ish effects dripped in midnight blue, the outcomes range from Sister Monday in excruciatingly terrifying glory, and unmatched terror displayed by the prison’s guests, as they, like the viewer, delve deep into deadly mystery.

Ultimately, A Nun’s Curse is a fantastic achievement in low-budget filmmaking. At just over 70-minutes long, this horror is deep within a game of death as to whether the film is just too short, yet writer-director Tommy Faircloth (The Cabin, Dollface) successfully avoids the viewer notion of wanting more. If anything, the short running time poses no noticeability whatsoever during the entirety of A Nun’s Curse. Produced at a low budget also, it is not only a movie miracle that there is an ambiance of this film feeling like any other mainstream horror, but it is an intense and dedicated skill from the entire production team, and not at any point does this production feel cheap.

*** 3/5

A Nun’s Curse is released on May 12th, courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment.