The Communion Girl
the communion girl | victor garcia | guillem clua | alberto marini | carla campra | aina quinones | marc soler | haunting | haunted | cursed | ghost | period piece | spain | religion | carlos oviedo | olimpia roch | maria molins | xavi lite | anna alarcon | sara roch
Film: The Communion Girl (La niña de la comunión)
Director: Victor Garcia
Writer: Guillem Clua
Starring: Carla Campra, Aina Quiñones and Marc Soler
This was a movie that I found when looking for new releases on Shudder. I saw the date of release on the Internet Movie Database. Doing a bit of digging, it does seem this is one where it did festival rounds and its wide release is 2023. What caught my attention was the title and the poster. I figured this would be a religious based horror film, which I'm a big fan of. I also noticed the names and figured this was from a Spanish speaking country as well. Other than that, I went blind.
Synopsis: May 1987. While returning from a nightclub and after having taken drugs, the new girl in town Sara (Carla Campra) and her friend Rebe (Aina Quiñones) find a doll wearing a communion dress. From that moment, their lives become a living hell.
We start this with a creepy nursery rhyme as we get the opening credits. It then shifts over to a young woman who isn't sleeping well. She is covered in sores. Her name is Sonia (Claudia Riera). A young man shows up and his name is Tano (Daniel Rived). He tries to calm her down, but she sees a young girl in a communion dress. There is also an old doll that is dressed similarly on the floor.
The movie then shifts four years into the future. Sara has moved here with her sister, Judit (Olimpia Roch) and parents, Amparo (Maria Molins) and Antonio (Xavi Lite). It is the day of her sister's communion. Sara is joined in a pew at the church by her new best friend, Rebe. They have plans to go to a nightclub that night. The timing is important as neither of them have their licenses so they need someone to drive. During this communion ceremony, Remedios (Anna Alarcón) shows up looking for her daughter named Marisol (Sara Roch).
It takes convincing of her parents, but Sara goes out with Rebe. It is during their time at the club that we meet a drug dealer, Chivo (Carlos Oviedo). Sara takes a liking to his friend, Pedro (Marc Soler). Things don't go as planned as these two young women's way and they're stranded. They walk and try to hitchhike. Their luck changes when Chivo and Pedro pull up. Rebe doesn't want to ride with them, but Sara must get home. While they're driving, Sara sees a young girl walk across the road. They stop and search for her. We see that the other three know something that she doesn't. Sara does find the doll from the beginning.
She tries to figure out who the doll belongs to, but no one will talk. She develops a rash like Sonia has in the beginning. The other three from that night do as well. They also start to see this little girl in a communion dress. Sara tries to figure out what she wants and who she is before it is too late.
That is where I'll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is that I enjoy the basic premise here. I'm not sure why this is set in the past though. That doesn't factor much into what we see. My guess was to avoid cellphones and the internet. I'll give credit here to it not being in our face. There is that timeless feel there as well. I also enjoy that we are getting a haunting/ghost film that involves religion and this child who passed on.
I do have to shift to a negative here though. This borrows heavily from Ringu. The elements are changed, but how the story plays out is quite similar. Even to what happens at the climax. There is a reveal here at the end that I wasn't expecting. It didn't move the needle too much for me though unfortunately. The pacing also feels off to me. I wonder if having teens that we follow is the reason. They all aren't safe, which is good. I struggled to feel the stakes still. Sara gets grounded and nothing comes of it. Her parents are working as much as they are though, so I get it.
Now that I've fleshed that out, let me get back to positives. I do like the religious angle and take on the curse story. Personally, I think elements are overused today, especially with vilifying Christianity. I am an atheist, so if I'm saying then it should carry more weight. Regardless, I do think this should have leaned into the church and religion more. There is a subplot here with Padre Manuel (Manel Barceló) that gets introduced. That doesn't go anywhere. By not doing more of their own thing, this feels generic. For a good part of this, I wanted to watch Ringu or The Ring that manages this subject better.
I think next then I'll go to another encouraging aspect and that would be the acting. Campra was good as our lead. I like the fact that she is new to this town and she is pulled in different directions. Adults want her to stay away from Reba due to her reputation. I've been this age so that worked. Quiñones is good as her friend who I've said is rough around the edges. I like Soler as well as Oviedo. Olimpia Roch works as the younger sister here. She adds tension when she falls into peril which adds something. Other than that, Molins, Lite, Alarcón, Sara Roch and Victor Solé were all solid. The rest of the cast also rounded this out for what was needed.
All that is left then to go into is filmmaking. I thought that this was made well enough. The cinematography is good. It captures the dreariness of this town it is set in. That worked for me. They do rely on dream sequences a bit too much. There are times it fits, especially when it comes to haunting and with the resolution. I don't normally care for them so there is that. The effects are fine. It looks like they relied a bit too much on CGI which I'm not always a fan of. I've already said the pacing is off. Other than that, the soundtrack fit what was needed. I do like the nursery rhyme, but they don't use it enough.
In conclusion, I do think this that this does good things. Having this ghostly girl haunting these people who come in contact with her doll are good. The problem is that this feels too close to other movies that use this premise better. I’d say that the acting was good. There are creepy elements. I’d even say that this is well-made. The dreariness of this town and the nightmare sequences help with the atmosphere. This just came up short for me. It doesn’t do enough to set itself apart in my opinion. I’d still recommend it if what I’ve said piques your interest as it wasn’t a bad watch by any stretch.
My Rating: 6 out of 10