I mean, I've seen all four "Scary Movies." And very recently, I watched Cabin in the Woods, but I doubt that counts. It's a tongue-in-cheek scary movie. Some of you might judge me for having never seen a horror movie until now, but whatever. I don't need your approval (please share this post with your friends). Also, some of you might say that I'm unqualified to review a horror movie since I've never watched horror movies, been to film school, or reviewed a movie before. Well, if Trump (with no political experience) can run for US President, I can review a horror movie (this joke will always be timely).
The first thing you should know about "The Purgation" is that the photography is pretty gorgeous. Like an Italian film student's Master's Thesis. There are some shots that really caught my eye. I'm not sure how much aesthetic is a factor in reviewing horror movies, but I'm pretty sure you've realized that I'm winging it.
Speaking of winging it, let's talk about the plot real quick. Here, I'll even use a heading.
I'm pretty pro at this now. Basically, "The Purgation" is the story of a girl who, as a child, explores a creepy underground area (that used to be an asylum run by an sadistic nun) with her friends to film a scary movie. Everything gets super spooky and eventually the kids get rescued. She moves to LA to pursue a film career, but then returns home because she feels like she needs to go back and understand what happened. We discover what happened to the other kids that she had adventured with (not good stuff) and things get a lot worse from there. I'll leave out some of the key plot details because there were some fun and genuine twists in the movie.
There were definitely some moments in the film that felt cheesy. The part at the beginning when they were all children reminded me that I was not watching Stranger Things (those children are amazing actors, the child actors in this film were decent). Once we got to the adult part, I sighed a sigh of relief, but there were still some aspects of the narrative that were a little bumpy for me. Part of this was because everything sets up for a number of reveals in the later part of the film, so I was able to forgive some of the original narrative flaws, but the film did have some weak moments.
There were great lines of dialogue though. Two of my favorites included:
"Nuns are kinda crazy." "They're married to God!" and
"You look like shit!" "Yeah, well that's better than usual."
Despite some of the films slower, less cohesive moments. There were many aspects of "The Purgation" that were generally fun. I should also mention that I watched the movie at 5am after being up all night. That may or may not have affected my perception of the film. Time for a new heading?
Pay attention to this soup. It becomes important later.
Theme and Genre
So as I've mentioned before, I've never really seen an actual horror movie. I understand the tropes, but I'm not a horror aficionado. But I am really good at distracting people.
Something really spooky 'bout to happen!
The film isn't so much a killer in the woods type film as it is a supernatural/psychological horror. There's also this really interesting aspect with the main character's obsession with the film that she was trying to make as a child. Since horror movies originated as cautionary tales against immoral acts, maybe the film is in a way telling us that obsessions with childhood dreams are dangerous. Our protagonist leaves a promising career in Los Angeles to change something that was long buried. So perhaps the writer, in her own way, was trying to warn us to be wary of our obsessions with the past.
Or maybe it's just a spooky-scary movie about killer nuns and stuff. Anyway, for a genre that I've avoided my entire life, this film had me intrigued. It won't win any awards for stellar acting and the plot did cause me to make a sideways confused dog face at times, but there were some really fun moments and times that I was glad that I was watching the film in a fully lit room as dawn was breaking.
Overall, I give "The Purgation" a 3/5.
If you like horror films, this is a fun indie film that could be interesting to chat about with other horror fans. If you're not really a fan of the genre, then I've heard that Boo! A Madea Halloween is pretty great (read: terrible, please don't support that film). Also, beware of nuns.