[Movie Review] CONSECRATION

[Movie Review] CONSECRATION
CONSECRATION l IFC Films & Shudder
CONSECRATION is brought to us by director Christopher Smith, who co-wrote the screenplay with Laurie Cook. The film stars the incredible Jena Malone, Danny Huston, and Janet Suzman. It’s very well produced, clocking in at a whopping eleven producers involved.

After finding out her estranged brother died of an alleged murder-suicide, Grace (Malone) travels to Scotland to a remote convent where her brother died. Suspecting there’s more to uncover, Grace is warily welcomed into the strange convent by the Mother Superior (Suzman) as she searches for answers. Quickly befriended by its priest, Father Romero (Huston), she learns secrets her brother hid.

But while there, she begins to have strange visions, blackouts, and repressed memories from her traumatic childhood. Seeking to unravel the mystery, she goes deeper and deeper into the darkness…But what will she uncover?

CONSECRATION is amazing. Top to bottom, this movie rings out in 2023 with incredibly high standards to follow. Honestly, I was mesmerized the whole time by the performances of the actors, the haunting and beautiful music composed by Nathan Halpern, and the clean-as-a-bone editing from Arthur Davis. The cinematography done by Rob Hart and Shaun Mone was ambitious, but paid off, making it not only feel isolating but harshly beautiful.

The writing is exquisite in the way it unfolds the story naturally, not exactly offering twists, but something a bit deeper of a moral question. It is a great conversation piece on spirituality, morality, and consequence. There is no one way to see CONSECRATION‘s story and that’s difficult to explore within a short amount of time.

Malone is vulnerable and strong as Grace, being genuine and warm. Huston and Suzman work in tandem to create the tense atmosphere of the convent. And Thoren Ferguson works well as our everyman.

The practical effects are stunning, as is the costuming by Emily Newby. The progression of Grace’s outfit as she becomes more involved in the convent is fascinating to watch. It feels like CONSECRATION knew what it was doing every step of the way as Grace is systematically stripped of her identity. And the effects are visceral and emotional, from her brother’s beaten body to the huge climax at the end. Her final outfit and effects play so well off of each other, being interwoven into the actions and her character development.

I am shocked CONSECRATION is not making more noise right now because of how beautiful the film is and how interesting the story is. I honestly had a difficult time finding flaws, which are few and far between, and masked by the strengths of the movie. All of the parts entwine effortlessly to tell the story and deliver an engaging question of spirituality and good vs evil. It never veers into a hokey or over-the-top tone or pacing but is played seriously and smoothly throughout.

CONSECRATION brings its A-game to horror. If you love practical effects, character-driven stories, and creepy religious horror, it would be a sin for you to pass this up.

CONSECRATION will arrive exclusively in theaters on February 10th from IFC Films and Shudder.

J.M. Brannyk
Movie Reviews

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