Friday, August 22, 2014

The Nun, Say Six Hail Marys and Die!

I had a nun as an English professor in college, and she was terrific.  Sister Enda inspired me to major in English and was a pure joy in the classroom.  My friends who went to Catholic high school, conversely, all seemed to have traumatic nun stories.  Some were belted across the hands with yard sticks.  Some were forced to write a Bible verse 500 times as a method of punishment.  Knowing these kids, I am sure they all deserved these penances...and more.  The nun in today's story, Sister Ursula (Cristina Piaget), exacted  a harsher brand of punishment on her students.  In 2005's "The Nun" (aka "La Monja"), our characters are condemned to a bloody fate, including Zoe (Paulina Galvez), who is listed sixth in the credits, and of course dies the most tortuous death (baked alive in an oven).
The plot:  A group of girls are terrorized by their boarding school's principal, Sister Ursula.  Ursula is big on weeding sin out of all her girls, most of them very attractive and driven by hormones.  One day she is punishing Mary.  The other girls hear Mary scream and rush to her aid.  Believing Ursula intends to drown Mary, the girls attack and drown Ursula in a tub.  The conspirators then dump Ursula's body in a murky pond and swear each other to secrecy.  Ursula's body is never found.  Jump ahead 18 years.  The girls begin dying mysteriously.  Johanna dies in London by fire.  Next, in New Jersey, Mary (Lola Marceli) is attacked by Ursula's ghost and has her throat cut.  Mary's death is witnessed by her 18 year old (...aha...a clue!) daughter, Eve (Anita Briem, pictured below).  Eve's best friend, Julia ( Belen Blanco), convinces Eve to travel home with her to Barcelona.  Eve agrees- not for R&R, but to find the secret of the mysterious boarding school her mom attended.  
Though Julia wants to get Eve's mind off her mother's murder, Eve is determined to find out why her mother and her mother's classmates are dying gory deaths.  With the help of a handsome seminary student, Gabriel (Manu Fullola), she tracks down two of her mom's friends.  First Christi...oops!  Just as Eve arrives at Christi's hotel, Christi is cut in half by a malfunctioning elevator.  Next....Eulalia.  Just a little late, I'm afraid. Moments before Eve and Gabriel arrive at Eulalia's apartment, Eulalia is crucified in her bathroom (see photo below).  Now Eve, Gabriel, and Julia head to the abandoned boarding school to find answers and the ghost nun.  They are met by two other ladies, Zoe and Susan (Natalia Dicenta).  The two women fill Eve in on a horrifying secret of 18 years ago.  Now these survivors and Eve must mount a fight against the supernatural. For Eve, she must not only defeat the ghost nun, but also come to grips with  newly acquired, sordid knowledge regarding her mom.
The final 20 minutes of "The Nun" is eerie as some predictable and unpredictable plot twists manifest themselves.  Those of you who love ghost stories will not want to miss this film, shot in Spain and available on Netflix.  The two lead actresses, Briem and Blanco, are very pretty and do a fine job in this film.  In fact, all the acting in this film is terrific.  Each death scores big on the gore meter.  Next time your wimp friends complain about a nun whacking them with a ruler, send them to see this movie.

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