English Review: NUN OF THAT (Richard Griffin – 2008)


Original Title: Nun of That
2008 – U.S.A.
Genre: Grindhouse Nuns
Director: Richard Griffin
Music: Daniel Hildreth and Tony Milano
Screenplay: Richard Griffin and Ted Marr
With Sarah Nicklin, Alexandra Cipolla, Shanette Wilson, Ruth Mahala Sullivan, Brandon Luis Aponte and Michael Reed

Synopsis: Nun of That is an action-comedy that follows Sister Kelly Wrath as she transforms from a nun with a simple temper problem to a vengeful killer. After being gunned down in an alley, she ascends to heaven to receive training from some of the great figures of religious mythology (Moses, Gandhi, and Jesus himself). She is then set back to Earth to join the other members of the Order of the Black Habit, a group of supernatural vigilante nuns as they seek revenge against the mob..

Since the early 2000s, Richard Griffin is a regular of small indie films, sometimes in a Grindhouse style. But beware, not the Grindhouse way Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez wanted you to believe it is, no no. Those are not movies made with millions of dollars and supposed to be a tribute to low-cost exploitation films (even if yup, I enjoyed Plante Terror). No, here, it’s real Grindhouse cinema, with low budget, and happy to be like it, and going exactly where it wants to go, on a very fun way! And even if the director has delivered since a few serious films (like Exhumed), one of his most known work and loved film is Nun of That (along with The Disco Exorcist). Nun of That, a film from 2008, soon to be re-released on Blu-Ray, in a limited edition, only 200 copies, and autographed too. A film with a simple story, the story of Sister Kelly, who has, let’s say, a fairly direct and strong temperament. A misplaced word with her can end up with a punch in your face, or being pushed in the stairs. Her behavior doesn’t please everyone at the church where she is, and she’s simply sent in a seedy area. And in no time, everything gets fucked, she’s attacked, and while finally everything seems to end well, she’s shot by nuns and goes near to Jesus! And he sings! HE SINGS! And when I saw that, I knew that film was for me! JESUS SINGS! Hmm hmm anyway… Jesus has a mission for her, she has to train, and then return on Earth to basically kill the mafia. Yes, Nun of That isn’t a serious film, and if you accept that choice, and the low budget aspect of it (yup, the gun shots are CGI), we have so much fun watching it!

The specifications of exploitation’s cinema are perfectly here, from the beginning till the end. So basically, we have some bad guys and they are really bad (and italian), hitmen with demonic laughter, a lesbian scene, shootings, lots of fake blood (both real and digital), lots of jokes, some close to genius, and a casual tone rarely taken seriously. Yes, in Nun of That, the head of the mafia is a transvestite who turned this way because he wanted to become a nun but was refused. So he turned to the devil for money, power and beauty (wait what?). Here, the nuns are not so holy (there is even the perverse one dreaming about men, and also a lesbian), everything’s ridiculed in a way, but in a good way. And our sister’s training is a good start to understand the film, as she’ll be trained by no one else than prophets, like Jesus, Moses… She’ll even kick ass to some ninjas and have a ride with Jesus, following her guardian angel. And to face the nuns, what’s better than the devil himself (played by Michael Reed, who is also Jesus) and a Jewish killer! Yup that’s heavy!

Maybe sometimes a little too much. We’re having a great laugh, but I have to admit, not all the jokes are genius. But hey, like any fun film right? Lucky, we can count no matter what on the great mood of the film and the actors. They all seem to have fun! Rich Tretheway maybe does a little too much from time to time as the boss (Momma), but the character remains fun with his improbable look. Michael Reed being Jesus (SINGING damn it!) and the devil seems to have so much fun all the time (and apparently, he only had one day to learn the lyrics), and Sarah Nicklin, the leading lady is just perfect. Not to mention a quick cameo from Lloyd Kaufman himself (yes, Lloyd). So basically, we’re having fun all the time with them, and we forget about the low budget and the cheap voluntarily appearance of some elements. Because no matter what, Nun of That manages to be amazingly packed. Some shots are amazing, the rhythm of the film is great, the cinematography is very nice (oh maybe a little dull for some scenes in offices, nothing bad) and the editing manages to give us energetic action scenes. A fun crazy time!

The best

A very funny film
The fun side of religion
Actors are having a great time, and so do we
Lots of nice ideas visually


Some jokes are less funny
I definitely have a problem with CGI

So: Nun of That is pure exploitation cinema. It doesn’t take itself seriously, it’s fun!

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