We switch to the present day teenagers from the viewpoint of one of the guys video camera. We are introduced to a Spanish girl and a blond named Eve who is the daughter of Mary. Of course Eve (Anita Briem) being the name of the person who committed original sin can' be a mistake. We can wonder what the sin was Mary committed that compelled her to name her daughter Eve.Back with Mary we get lots of creepy music and strangely water seeming to move in the wrong direction. Mary is scared and keeps calling out for her daughter. "Are you there?" Oh a vase is turned over and the water spilled out, the sink is full of water now Mary looks a bit concerned. What about water makes her so nervous? She unplugs the sink while the camera moves around the room showing the window moving on its own. As she fixes the vase the window flies open even though there is no wind. Now the sink is gurgling again and there are whispered voices. Mary grabs a knife and as she turns the water is back in the sink but now is flowing up to the ceiling. Eve is pulling into the driveway as an apparition of a nun appears in the water. It is gray and deathly and swoops to Mary. She screams as Eve comes in the house, as Eve enters the room the Nun slices her throat and flies out the window splashing water all around. So we have the basic premise of this 2005 Spanish film "La Monja", for some reason we are sure to learn the nun from the school they attended as teens is coming after them to kill them.
For Eve it is a horrible night her Mom is dead and she saw the ghost but the shock makes her little help to the police. They think it was a suicide since there is no evidence of anyone else including on the knife. The Spanish girl, Julia (Belen Blanco) comes to comfort Eve and adds some conversation with the cops for the sole purpose that they can rule this a suicide. This scene feels a bit clunky and I wonder if it was added later when Manu Diez was writing the screenplay. He can write as we saw in his recent script for [Rec]2, he just seems to not really have it together here four years earlier.
With the setup out of the way in 18 minutes now we are ready to get into the bulk of the story. We have the adults girls from the school learning that Mary is dead and talking about some incident that happened back at school. Eulalia (Oriana Bonet) tells Zoey (Paulina Galvez) on the phone that what happened. Eve is convinced to go to Spain with Julia so she will not be alone, but at the funeral Christy (Tete Delgado) introduces herself to as a friend of her Mothers and we get more clunky dialog setting up that the women from the bordering school had been planning to get together in just a couple days time. Then the strangest of lines comes out of Christy, she is having this odd conversation with Eve but instead of just talking to her she gives her a card and says that tomorrow they should talk. Not smooth screen writing at all.
Well they never get to speak because Christy meets her demise is a wonderfully gruesome way before they can speak. Of course Eve comes just in time to see the carnage so she is not in great shape on the plane ride to Spain. I love that the film on the plane is by horror director Brian Yuzna who produced this film.
In Spain Eve starts trying to track down details of her Mother's past, a love letter from Miguel to her mother. At the same time the biggest flaw of the film is revealed as Eulalia talks on the phone about how the adult girls all have to go back to the school (which has been closed since 1998) to figure out what is going on. Except up to this point nothing that has happened could be connected to the other women in any way. She knows that Mary committed suicide and earlier she mentioned the death of another of the girls but sh does not yet know about Christy. Why would the school come into pay at all and why would they be compelled to go there?
The actress does have large breasts so I guess that makes it all work.
Eve meets Gabriel (Manu Fallalo) in the library and he helps her translate so she has a savior later I am sure. He is studying to become a priest. Just when you think this story should be settling into a story about the adult women we shift back to the daughter. Instead there seems to be two different story's going on only just connected by threads. Eulalia gets the water treatment as Eve crosses the city towards Eulalia? Running water and building music can be pretty scary. Actually where ever Eve is heading death seems to get there first, she shows up at the woman's house to find her bloody and hanging. Amazingly Gabriel, Julia and Joel (Alistair Freeland with some dreadful acting) know shortcuts across the city and show up just as she finds Eulalia's body. A phone call on the message machine from Zoe stops the kids from calling the police and instead they head to the school in the rain. Rain, eek, that's water and in the water is the Nun. WTF!
If the film needs to make the horror aspects work it is poorly thrown into this movie immediately before it is needed or has to be referenced out of the blue by one of the characters. They end up in the old school with Susan (Natalia Dicenta) and Zoey, the four younger people search around looking for them. Eve walks into the very classroom from the first scene of the film and SIN is still written on the blackboard. The kids separate for no reason other than they are not paying attention to each other. Eve heads out and meets the two older women and Eve informs them of the other deaths. Zoe and Susan argue about the earlier event and calling the police. Eve knows now the Nun was Sister Ursula killed her mother and tells them so. Here we are one half the way through the movie and we get the back story we have been missing. I will leave it to you to watch from here on but we know somehow they are going to have to deal with the ghost of the Nun. But how? It occurs to me that this movie is House on Sorority Row, with a ghost Nun instead of a crazy son. There is some really horrible exposition to try to explain how this could be happening, it involves the Spa company who now owns the land draining the pond. It happened the same time the murders started. Susan lets us know that this is not going to end until they are all dead. grrrr....
Eve has everything fit together way too neatly in this film. She connects a book she finds to her mother, the secret of which I will not go into here. The priest guy Gabriel now hits on her in Sister Ursula's room. What the hell, are they making out? People are dying and the future priest is making out with the daughter in killer Sister Ursula's room on her bed. Again WTF?
Eve has second thoughts and says, and I am not shitting you. "Not here, not in the room of that monster. You saw what she did to Eulalia." This gives Gabriel an idea and he leaves her in the room alone. Yes, he leaves her in the room alone. Already the group split up again with the two of them there and the two older women talking in the kitchen while Julia and Joel get the power on in the cellar. Such classic horror movie fodder.
With thirty minutes to go the climax has to start building so I guess it is convenient Gabriel just walked out on her. We would not get the jump scare that shocks Eve into remembering why her mother tried to commit suicide. Oh my, that is so predictable. She is is shock and in walks Gabriel, "Eve, I've just discovered how... hey what happened?"
This one is a winner and getting to the end is now the goal. Gabriel knows how she, Sister Ursula is doing it. He shows the death of the patron Saints, paintings in the corridor, each woman has a name of a Saint including Ursula, each died a way that the women have in the film. Now the film seems well laid out, with the clues put in from the earliest scenes. I now think maybe the execution by director Luis de la Madrid may be the problem. Well... no, some of the exposition is way to contrived even though some is smartly written. The direction seems fine enough. Susan meets her death by the hands of the ghost. Now the final scenes, because Mary was pregnant with Eve at the time of Sister Ursula murder, she is also marked also. Who is the father? Father Miguel oh that dirty man must have been a Catholic school. Out of the blue Gabriel comes up with the idea that if you can get Ursula to appear in the water that they can stab her in the heart like the Saint in the painting. At this point I am thinking that Gabriel is like the embodiment of Miguel protecting his Innocent daughter. When he is turning on water pipes though it blows and he is shot through with pipe and appears to die.
Zoey comes face to face with Ursula and meets her unrealistic end. Eve in ta room filling with water now has her big confrontation. So only the youth are left and Eve must face the Nun under water with a spear gun, in the dark. Eve being the main character you can guess what happens, but not before her friend Julia talks to Joel and we learn a giant twist. Joel amazingly figures out that Eve knew all along that she knew that her Mother had killed the Nun. Eve was the only one present at each crime, she is the only one that could have committed the murders. The Nun lived through Eve to commit the killings. Eve and the Nun are the same person so when Eve shoots the Nun Julia gets to find Eve shot through with a spear. Wow. If it was not so poorly written this could have been great. Instead every twist and turn is inexplicably explained by some character without a bit of setup for that character to know the information.
Rating (3.9) 5.0 and up are recommended in the Zombiegrrlz rating system Skip It, or watch it for kicks but don't pay for it.