If Alban Butler met M. Night Shyamalan in a darkened cathedral, the result would resemble this haunted fit of tunnel vision and religious fervor. Based on a 1796 gothic novel, Dominik Moll and Adonis Kyrou’s film follows Ambrosio, who is abandoned as an infant at a Spanish monastery and then becomes something of a demigod. But when an eerie, masked monk confesses to being female, Ambrosio is bitten by a poisonous centipede and reduced to a sex fiend. Already shadowy, the monastery goes jet-black with multiple deaths, a pregnant nun locked up with rats and graveyard apparitions. Pinhole transitions splice together this hellish world with a parallel plot following the chaste Antonia and her suitor. After a few Shakespearean turns, though, everyone succumbs to sin and Antonia becomes Ambrosio’s next sexual obsession. But The Monk finishes too quickly to satisfy. Striking visuals can’t distract from the outdated pinhole effect and corny ghost apparitions transplanted from the ’80s. Satan himself goes retro, appearing for the listless ending as a graying ethnic man in fur.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
- MPAA Rating: R
- Critic's Score: B-
- Watch the trailer