Immaculate review | The first great horror film of 2024

sydney sweeney immaculate
Share this Article:

Sydney Sweeney plays a nun who finds herself miraculously pregnant in Michael Mohan’s horror film. Here’s our Immaculate review. 

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: it’s been an utterly dreadful, disappointing, infuriatingly bad year for horror films so far. Granted, there’s not been an awful lot to choose from, but we’ve mostly been subjected to unimaginative, uninspired and downright boring horror films. 

Which is why I’m ecstatic to announce that Michael Mohan’s Immaculate is the first great horror film of 2024. 

The film reunites Mohan and his The Voyeurs star Sydney Sweeney, also seen in Euphoria and Madame Web more recently. Sweeney plays Sister Cecilia, a devout nun who relocates to a remote Italian convent. Once there, she quickly finds herself miraculously pregnant, despite never having had sex… and it soon becomes evident that not everything is quite as groovy as she was led to believe. 

immaculate sydney sweeney running
Credit: Black Bear

I’m sure Immaculate won’t be for everyone. Personally, I’m a big fan of jumpscares and Immaculate has those in abundance. A well-executed jumpscare should make you jump out of your seat and give you a shock, an injection of a primal kind of terror. Many films get them wrong, but Immaculate serves them up often and crafts them neatly. You could easily hold Mohan’s love of a jumpscare against his film, and fair enough if you do, but this review won’t. 

By design, Immaculate is one for the masses. It’s constantly entertaining and devilishly fun, even when it adheres to some of horror’s oldest conventions. The plot may not surprise you, but Mohan’s calculated direction and Sweeney’s committed performance will. 

Sweeney, who was already impressive in Tina Satter’s Reality last year, has never been better, in fact. As the film progresses and Cecilia gets more and more pregnant, Sweeney’s performance gets more and more distressed, panicked and desperate. The film’s final minutes are some of the best acting I’ve seen this year and it’s an ending that will stick with me for a while, just due to its sheer boldness.

Visually, Immaculate is arresting. The images of Sweeney’s Cecilia as a worshipped saint or her covered in blood will linger in your mind long after the credits have started rolling. There’s also a pleasing amount of gore and some very cool practical effects. Bones break, faces are caved in and it’s all done with an admirable level of detail. 

There was a different film to be made with the premise of Immaculate. That film would have probably dug deeper into the dynamics between the women in the convent and focuses more on the bodily terrors of pregnancy. I would have very much liked to have seen that film, but Immaculate, as it is, is still heaps of fun. A hoot, even! 

Mohan deliberately chooses to make Immaculate into a relentless, thrilling rollercoaster ride instead of a slower paced, more thematically driven horror film. It’s in no way a worse horror, just a different one, creating a completely different experience. Immaculate is a fun chiller, and those tend to get a bad rep in the age of “elevated horror”. Neither style of storytelling is bad or wrong, just different. 

I can see myself revisiting Immaculate time after time. It may not be remembered as the best horror film ever made, but it should be remembered for Sweeney’s incredible, believable performance and that bloody, gutsy, bonkers ending. 

Immaculate is in UK cinemas 22nd March. 

Share this Article:

More like this