the convent | mike mendez | chaton anderson | joanna canton | richard trapp | dax miller | united states | comedy | fantasy | Renée Graham | renee graham | liam kyle sullivan | megahn perry | jim golden | adrienne barbeau | coolio | bill moseley | demon | demons
Film: The Convent
Director: Mike Mendez
Writer: Chaton Anderson
Starring: Joanna Canton, Richard Trapp and Dax Miller
This was a film that I had heard about on one of the podcasts I listen to and I was intrigued about what I had heard. I lucked out when my local theater was hosting the Bloody Disgusting Retro Nightmare series and this was the second half of a double feature. The official synopsis is a group of college students break into an abandoned convent and become possessed by demonic spirits.
We kick off back in 1960. We are outside of a catholic school for girls. A young woman pulls up and gets out wielding a shotgun and a drum of gasoline. Inside the priest is giving communion to his nuns. The woman comes in and blows everyone away. She follows that up by setting it on fire.
It then shifts 40 years into the present. A young woman is leaving her sorority, Clorissa (Joanna Canton). She is freaked out by her former friend, Mo (Megahn Perry), who appears from nowhere. Clorissa is worried to be seen with her as they both used to be gothic. Mo is still into it where her friend is dressing ‘normal’ now. Clorissa’s friends pull up in a jeep and start calling for her. In the car is Frijole (Richard Trapp), who has been kicked out of his fraternity. Also there is Kaitlin (Renée Graham), Clorissa’s brother Brant (Liam Kyle Sullivan), her boyfriend Chad (Dax Miller) and a football player Biff (Jim Golden) who is also dating Kaitlin. With some convincing, Clorissa allows Mo to join them.
They come to the condemned convent where Mo fills in more of the legend of the place; it appears that an abortion happened. That was what sparked the massacre all those years ago. The group goes inside to spray paint their letters on the bell tower. Inside Clorissa thinks she sees a nun, but told she is seeing things. Frijole and Mo end up alone together when the cops show up. She tells him to cover for her and she will make it worth his while. He hides his weed there. The cops turn out to be Starkey (Coolio) and Ray (Bill Moseley). They take a joint from Frijole and let them leave. Inside Mo is taken by a group of Satanists.
A ritual is performed that turns her into a demon. She kills off the girls in the group, making them into demons as well. Clorissa is worried about Mo and convinces the group to come back with her to find her. They start to be picked off one by one and turned as well. Clorissa has to turn to the one person who defeated them back then, Christine (Adrienne Barbeau). She also learns the truth of what happened in this convent.
The first thing I have to say about this film is that it is fun. I’m not the biggest fan of horror comedies, but this one did have me chuckle at parts. One big thing with this film that I liked was the characters are all distinct. Most of them are jerks so we it makes it really easy to enjoy when they die and are brought back as demons.
That brings me to my next point about the film. I love that the back-story is a bunch of nuns are possessed by demons. I’m not very religious, but I do think that religion is something that when used incorrect can be a big problem. For this film, I love seeing the perversion of those that are supposed to be holy. It just creates an interesting dynamic. This film also reminded me a bit of Night of the Demons in that you have a bunch of kids going to a place that has a past and messing around in it. The only difference here is that the demons don’t just appear and this has much more comedy.
It is paced really well also. It has a really low running time and doesn’t take much getting into it. We kick off with the massacre and I’d say it’s another twenty minutes for the ritual that brings them back. It does balance the horror of being chased and killed by demons with the building the story of what happened and what they have to do. The ending is a little bit abrupt and cheesy, but it really does fit with the rest of the film.
Acting for this film is a little bit hard to gauge. Since this is a comedy, I feel like some of it is intentionally bad. Canton was good in this film. She is really the only one who wants to do the right thing and I commend her for that. Trapp was annoying, but he did make me a chuckle a few times. The rest of the frat guys are much of the same. I think they are intentionally annoying though she we root for them to die. I liked Perry’s character, but I also felt bad for her. She is into gothic things, but it doesn’t mean she should be sacrificed to the devil. I also felt bad that she had to deal with the advances of Frijole as much as she did. She does handle it well and I thought she was good overall. Sullivan tries so hard to fit in with the jerks that I kind of don’t care for him. It was fun to see Barbeau in the cameo in this film. I thought she was good in the limited time she had. Same goes with Moseley. The rest of the cast was meh, but I think a lot of that goes to the tone of the film.
The special effects in this film were actually really good. For the time period that it came out, it looks like they were done practically, which really surprised me. The wounds of gunshots and knife stabs look real and they also cut away from them so it leaves a little bit to the imagination. The look of the demons I thought was great. I like that their eyes, teeth and veins all glow. It made them look very creepy. The one thing I did hate was how they moved. The footage is sped up and I don’t think that was needed. It doesn’t make them look scarier or add anything. I won’t hold that against it completely, but just an issue I had.
Score of the film didn’t really stand out to me either. It doesn’t hurt the film, but it also didn’t help it. One thing that did annoy me though was I think they gave Kaitlin as a demon a creepy laugh. I’ve heard the laugh used before and I wasn’t a fan of it for this film. It actually sounds like the laugh that was used on dolls like the one from Saw that comes out a few years after this.
Now with that said, don’t come in expecting anything great. This film was made to be fun and I think that’s exactly what it is for the most part. I like some of the concepts used in the film. The perversion of the nuns and priests as demons is an interesting duality. I also enjoy films where kids mess around and awaken demons. This has a more comedic vibe to a Night of the Demons. I thought the film was paced well with a low running time. The acting for the film was okay, but it is hard to tell if they are bad or just playing for the laughs. It doesn’t really work though. Effects for this film though were pretty amazing aside from how they have the demons move. The score didn’t stand out, but I will say that I hated the laugh used for one of the demons. If this sounds like a film you’d be interested in, give it a viewing. I definitely think this would work if you looking for a one to have drinks with friends or to have on in the background of a party for sure.
My Rating: 6 out of 10