There’s Only One Thing Bigger Than The Scares In Sydney Sweeney’s New Horror Flick

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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You can be forgiven if you weren’t drawn to the theaters to watch Sydney Sweeney’s new horror film, “Immaculate.” Inexplicably released during Spring rather than around Halloween, it’s not a genre typically on people’s minds as they prepare for Easter. Yet it’s still worth a watch — and lucky for you, it just hit streamers this week.

“Immaculate” starts out as a fairly boilerplate horror flick, as novitiate American nun Sister Cecilia (Sweeney) embarks on the journey of a lifetime to the Italian countryside. She doesn’t think of it like that, though. She’s pure and devout and anxiously awaits taking her vows and dedicating her life to the convent that paid for her trip over. The film builds dread with eerie landscape shots, and the viewer starts to feel a sense of unease as Cecilia explores the labyrinthine halls of the medieval convent. It’s certainly inspired by the nunsploitation genre of the 1970s, as even the nuns themselves are frightening. “The catacombs are off limits,” warns one of the harsher sisters, so you know we’re heading down there eventually.

After a visit to the doctor, the domineering priest, bishop and Mother Superior who run the convent confront Cecilia: she’s pregnant. Yet she took a vow of chastity, and Sweeney’s piety is convincing enough that we believe her. The convent accepts it was an immaculate conception and begins to elevate Cecelia as Mary, bringing a new Savior to the World. But if they’re so elated, why won’t they share the news with the outside world or even allow her to visit a hospital? The “holy trinity” running the convent slowly reveal themselves to be quite unholy.

At this point, you think you know where everything’s going: the convent is actually a front for devil worshipers. They want to bring a new anti-Christ into the world; in short, another tedious remake of “Rosemary’s Baby.” But from here, the film actually takes quite a novel — and modern — twist.  (RELATED: Hollywood’s New ‘Civil War’ Movie Is Even Worse Than You Think)

Caution: Spoilers Ahead

The convent is not filled with devil worshipers, per se. Rather, they are fanatical Catholics who only find their way there indirectly. The priest, who is revealed to have a background in genetic biology, has spent decades trying to clone a new Son of God from Jesus’ genetic materials uncovered in the ancient catacombs. The convent leaders conspire to plant the embryo in unsuspecting nuns, hoping to cleanse the world. Where past “experiments” failed in hideous monstrosity, Cecilia is the first to be pure enough to carry the “Savior” to term.

Now, it’s easy to write “Immaculate” off as just another case of Hollywood’s pathological Catholic-bashing. And the liberal schmucks who made it probably feel brave in their attempt to weigh into the abortion debate. As director Michael Mohan explained in an interview, the film is meant to be about a “forced birth by a religious institution laying claim to a woman’s body.” But this was far from my first thought watching it.

In the final scene, a certain nod to “Rosemary’s Baby,” Cecilia gives birth to what can only be interpreted as the anti-Christ, inadvertently bred through man’s scientific hubris. We don’t see the creature. We only see her look of revulsion, fear and horror shot from below, in Sweeney’s best Mia Farrow impression. But Cecilia does not possess Rosemary’s meekness. Her piety has a flip-side; she is the righteous wrath of God. She smites the beast.

With this rather well-done ending, the film seems unintentionally to be a warning for Christians today. For years, Christianity has been in the process of modern revival — often to the point of being unrecognizably Christian at all. Churches bowed to the altar of science during the COVID years. But this came only after decades of capitulation to leftist social values, part of a desperate attempt to remain relevant in our rapidly secularizing world. Liberation theology has been wildly successful in reinterpreting the word of God, as brought by Jesus, as nothing more than a social gospel of progressive pacifism. (RELATED: The Best Easter Movie Of All Time Was Made By A Gay, Commie Atheist. No, Really)

Yet the film shows what happens to those who overlay their own values over the word of God, who pervert His designs to further their own ambitions. It’s a cautionary tale of the evil that is invited by the very “Christians” who would make room for abortion in Church doctrine. And this warning is bigger than any of the jump scares you’re sure to have.