Review: Jena Malone is terrific, however supernatural thriller ‘Consecration’ is hit-and-miss

Jena Malone offers a terrific efficiency within the hit-and-miss supernatural thriller “Consecration,” tackling a difficult type of character: an individual who doesn’t actually know who she is. Malone performs an ophthalmologist named Grace — a symbolically loaded occupation and identify mixture if ever there was one. When her brother dies in an obvious murder-suicide on the distant seaside Scottish convent the place he served as a priest, Grace heads to the coast to substantiate her suspicions that the native nuns and police are taking a look at this case the unsuitable approach. Instead, she discovers long-buried secrets and techniques about her personal previous.

“Consecration” was directed by the veteran style filmmaker Christopher Smith, who additionally co-wrote the script with Laurie Cook. In previous Smith movies resembling “Black Death” and “The Banishing,” he has depicted religious fervor as one thing mysterious, unwieldy and typically exhausting to tell apart from the forces of darkness. Grace would definitely agree. She’s not spiritual, so she doesn’t belief the convent’s Mother Superior (Dame Janet Suzman) or its visiting priest Father Romero (Danny Huston) — and most of the nuns return the animus, seeing Grace as a disruptive interloper. As the church prepares for a consecration ceremony to cleanse the property of dangerous vibes, Grace senses one thing sinister afoot.

But what, precisely? “Consecration” is structured a bit of like a thriller, with Grace sneaking across the convent and gathering clues. She reads her brother’s notes and will get flashes of recollections from their troublesome childhood with their abusive father, whereas additionally uncovering grim particulars about a few of this convent’s strangest historical rituals — together with a type of penitence that had sinners strolling backward off a cliff. But she struggles to suit all of the items of this puzzle collectively — and as she does, “Consecration” struggles accordingly.

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One of the movie’s largest weaknesses is that Smith and Cook withhold key info to allow them to spring a giant twist. When the menace the characters are dealing with stays so obscure for therefore lengthy, it robs the story of pressure. It doesn’t assist that Smith retains the horror components to a minimal, or that the image is so drably coloured and dimly lit.

Malone although is compellingly vibrant all through “Consecration” in a task that sees her beginning as an completed, assured medical skilled after which regularly shrinking into confusion and worry as she remembers extra about her tangled roots. The greatest elements of this movie provide the viewer the identical sense of disturbing discovery — realizing that every part we expect we find out about ourselves can have a distinct interpretation when seen by scornful eyes.


Rated: R, for bloody violent content material and a few language

Running time: 1 hour, half-hour

Playing: Starts Feb. 10 in restricted launch