Immaculate | Director Michael Mohan on its original, “conservative” ending (exclusive)

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Michael Mohan revealed that his new horror film, Immaculate, originally had a very traditional ending. More on it below. 

Warning: Mild spoilers for Immaculate’s ending follow

Sydney Sweeney stars in Michael Mohan’s religious horror film Immaculate, which is now in cinemas – we gave it a glowing four stars in our review. Sweeney plays Sister Cecilia, who transfers to an Italian convent but quickly finds herself miraculously pregnant. 

In our chat with Mohan, the director revealed that the script originally had a very different ending. 

“Originally, this was a studio movie, and it had a much more traditional ending, a very conservative ending,” he said. 

If you’ve seen Immaculate, you know how strange that sounds. The current ending of Immaculate is thoroughly shocking, but also very impressive. The final minutes of the film follow Sweeney, in an uninterrupted shot, as she commits something horrific and, depending who you ask, blasphemous. 

“I don’t know how they let me do [it],” Mohan exclaims, clearly still in shock himself. “The first thing at the premiere that I said, when I stood up, was, ‘I can’t believe that this movie is coming out on 2,000 screens, and it has quite possibly the most disturbing ending of any movie of the last 10 years.’”

Immaculate had a long road to the big screen. Sweeney originally auditioned for the film over a decade ago, but the film never materialised. Sweeney eventually brought the script to Mohan and as he read it, he knew immediately how the ending needed to be changed. 

“As an audience member, I know what I want to see at the end of this movie,” the director explains. “The character, she’s gone through hell, she has been tortured, she has been held captive, it’s the worst horror that any human can endure and we just need this brutal moment of catharsis, to send people out.”

Brutal is exactly what that ending is. There were no rehearsals, just a quick run-through of where Sweeney should start and where she’ll end up. The long shot was captured in just four takes, but the one that made it into the finished cut is the very first take they captured.

“We did take one and all of us walked to the video village and we watched the playback,” Mohan says. “I think everybody knew… I don’t want to toot my own horn too much, but when I was looking at it on the monitor, I was like, ‘I think we just made horror history.”

“I just love the idea that people are cheering for something so fucked up,” Mohan laughs. 

Immaculate is in cinemas now. 

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