by Hope Madden
Consecration is another Catholic horror movie full of potentially vengeful nuns.
It stars Jena Malone and Danny Huston and was directed by Christopher Smith, whose Severance is one of the best horror comedies ever.
Malone plays Grace, a woman called to Scotland to identify the body of her brother, a priest who killed himself after murdering another priest in front of a gaggle of nuns. But the Mother Superior (an effectively chilly Janet Suzman) tells the story a bit differently than handsome local detective Harris (Thoren Ferguson). She knows Grace’s brother was possessed by a demon and had the strength to end his life to protect the convent.
Grace is having none of it. What she is having are hallucinations and blackouts, which should probably concern her more than they seem to. But that’s just the beginning of Consecration’s problems.
Malone – a generally welcome sight in any film – is as unconvincing. Her amateur atheist sleuth is as believable as her Scottish accent. The gritty charm and sly intelligence she’s used to mischievous and mysterious effect in so many films evaporate in the face of this super serious if frequently lightheaded character.
Much of the ensemble fares better. Huston’s spot-on as the priest determined to find a solution to this convent problem. Meanwhile, Eilidh Fisher blends warmth and weirdness, creating the film’s sole memorably tragic figure.
But Smith’s script, co-written with longtime collaborator/first-time writer Laurie Cook, leaves too many gaps in logic for its tale to take hold. Most of these holes concern Grace, which is no doubt among the reasons Malone struggles to create a believable character.
The scenery is gorgeous and there is an interesting time/space twist that’s a bit of good fun. But it’s not quite enough to salvage a tired idea told with pretty images and little enthusiasm.