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Home > Consecration (2023): A Review

Consecration (2023): A Review

Consecration

Jena Malone Struggles With Grief & Identity In New Divine Slow-Burn Horror

Described as a “hermit” and perhaps unhappy by her colleague and friend, Grace (Jena Malone) is given sudden news that her brother has died. Receiving a call in the night following some curious electrical flickers in her apartment, she learns that his death is being investigated as a murder-suicide, in an odd location. A Scottish Convent. After her arrival, the nuns start to act strangely, and long-buried memories resurface, teaching her not only about her brother but about herself as well. Production heavy hitters AGC Studios, Moonriver Content, Newsscope Films, and Bigscope Films teamed up to bring 2023’s Consecration to the screen for a theatrical run as well as stent on streaming platforms as well. Christopher Smith, the director of other chilling films such as Black Death, Creep, and 2009’s Triangle, switches gears for religious frights, in this slow-burn horror distributed by IFC Films. The flick disturbed audiences in theaters, debuting on February 10th, 2023. It can currently be viewed on Prime Video. 

A Bleak & Honest Look At Grief & A Fervent Search For Identity

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines consecration as the act of officially promising to give one’s time and attention to something. And that is exactly what Christopher Smith did with his 2023 horror, Consecration. Blanketed on a canvas of neutrals – brown, tan, black, white, and plenty of depressing greys – Consecration’s opening moments and expansive location shots bring a tone of bleak dread. Leading viewers to wonder, how many mysteries need to be uncovered? Will answers be found? The tension is ratcheted up as Grace (Jena Malone) goes on her trip to the Scottish convent to find out what happened to her brother. These tensions are only increased with an intentionally unsettling score, and lingering still shots of the local nun’s faces as they are highly suspicious of their new guest, Grace, who is quite uncomfortable in religious spaces. The screenplay, written by director Christopher Smith, and co-wrote by Laurie Cook (Triangle) reveals Grace’s answers at a steady pace throughout the film, making disturbing use of flashbacks and alleged hallucinations. A clever mechanic is used for Grace to find answers from beyond the grave of her brother, one which will have audiences feeling nostalgic and creeped out at the same time. Viewers perhaps may get a bit turned around in the film’s winding story, but the forlorn and despairing backdrop of the Scottish countryside, and dark shadows around every corner will keep them glued to their seats. An interesting small universe is created in Consecration, that could use more runtime or perhaps a sequel to delve into the strange backstory of the sacred object the convent is so terrified of. 

Consecration

A Demanding Story Requires A Strong Cast

Jena Malone left no crumbs as the leading character of Grace in Consecration. The character requires a deep, hopelessness, balanced by an insistent yearning to protect her sibling’s dignity. The aching sobs and steady quiet moments that Malone took Grace through show a massive heaviness that Grace is carrying, one that Grace isn’t even ready to acknowledge or remember yet. Malone shows that Grace is strong in her identity, but also strong enough to find out more about it; a performance that is hard to tear your eyes away from. This leading presence is matched by Danny Huston in Father Romero, who meets Grace at the convent and is a soft reassurance and ally that Grace needs as she searches for answers. Huston brings a dependable air to Father Romero, all while carrying a secretive underbelly that makes a viewer wonder if this man should be trusted. In a terrific cast of unshakeable and firm characters, Janet Suzman might be the most unmovable as Mother Superior. Even while being questioned by the police and detectives, Suzman remains faithful to her convent and its inhabitants all while upping the creep factor in her foreboding lines to Grace. One face that will most certainly stick in viewers’ minds long after the film’s ending is Eilidh Fisher’s “Peekaboo!” to Grace as nun Meg. The deranged innocence that Fisher brings to the character insists that something more sinister is going on.

Color Juxtaposition Ups The Horror Ante

Consecration uses its chosen neutral color scheme to accent the dreary mission of its characters. It is only accented by the jeweled emeralds of the Scottish countryside and the scarlet, bloody chaos that is found in its answers. Wide and expansive shots of the convent’s location elicit the uneasiness of being in a mostly solitary location that sometimes accompanies sacred sites. These details could make viewers think of Hideo Kojima’s cinematic video game, Death Stranding, set in a similar-looking setting, also accompanied by a feeling of a search for disconnection and identity. Rob Hart (Killing Eve) and Shaun Mone (The Informer) make brilliant use of negative space throughout Consecration to engage the viewer and cause them to desperately search for what is or is not hiding in the shadows. Gore and slight body horror, as well as its adjoining and sickening sounds, are not shied away from the camera’s lens either. Only increasing the overall horrific feeling of the film. Nathan Halpern (The Watcher, Emily The Criminal) creates a truly unsettling atmosphere with Fisher’s Meg often singing Latin hymns in random places on the convent grounds is akin to children singing nursery rhymes in places and times that they shouldn’t. In quiet moments of research, a mechanic of almost no sound is also expertly used to up the tension. 

A Slow Burn Horror To Be Experienced

Consecration

Consecration is an intense, wild ride that takes viewers to some emotionally uncomfortable places. The flashback scenes could possibly be quite triggering for some. Yet, for any slow burn, and religious horror streamers, it definitely should be watched and experienced. An outstanding cast, intentional sound design, a winding and mysterious storyline, and a surprising ending will keep any horror lover interested. The mystery of Grace and her brother’s demise can currently be unraveled on Prime Video.

Consecration (2023) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Author

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Amber is a writer and co-editor for Dead Talk News. Between writing reviews and the latest trailer releases, Amber keeps four tiny humans alive at home. She has previously written for Giant Freakin Robot and will keep going to see every new horror film, no matter what the other moms think.