Pulpmovies Cult Film Reviews
Well paced b-movie with a big budget. A great night out (or in) if zombie nuns and stupid Satanists fill the bag youre into.
The film opens in 1960 with a schoolgirl (we later learn her name is Christine) shooting up and torching, a convent. We then jump forward 40 years to a bunch of high school kids deciding to go to the now deserted and condemned building for some sex and drugs and to see if the place really is haunted.
The teenagers are quickly divided into stereotypes - the good girl with a history, the bad girl, the jocks, the nerd and, from here on in, were into pretty standard slaughter the teenagers territory but with quite a fun zombie twist thrown in for good measure. Comic relief is provided by a hopelessly inept coven of white-trash satanists who appear to have received their religious education from the Hammer House of Horror. Zombie nuns run amok and the teen-bashing then continues in a suitably messy manner until the arrival of the now adult Christine (Adrienne Barbeau) - a reclusive gun-toting biker.
Adrienne Barbeaus presence in the film underlines how deeply rooted in exploitation films this is, so much so that you can almost count the influences Raimi, Romero, the list may not be endless, but its long. The Convent is essentially a homage to the humour driven schlock-fests that followed Evil Dead in the 1980s and, as such, it works more as an over-the-top cartoon than as a scare story. The characterization is cardboard and the plotting is convenient with much of the storyline progressing through the straightforward approach of placing the right character in the right place as required. Coolios cameo as a dishonest cop is a good demonstration of this approach as well as providing as good a justification as youll ever get as to why zombie victims never go to the police. But its a fun film and has an explosive climax thats well worth waiting for.
All in all, this is a fast paced, effects driven zombie flick with enough one-liners to keep you laughing from start to finish. Theres a couple of scenes that managed to make me jump, but no real scares and the emphasis is very much on the humour rather than the horror. The film is probably best watched on video with a few mates and a case of beer and, with that in mind, when you fancy a straightforward no-frills monster movie, you could do a lot worse than The Convent.