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The Convent DVD Review

Written by Daniel Benson


DVD released by Dutch Filmworks


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Directed by Mike Mendez

Written by Chaton Anderson

2000, Region 2 (PAL), 84 minutes, Rated 16 (Netherlands)

DVD released on March 27th, 2001


Joanna Canton as Clarissa
Richard Trapp as Frijole
Dax Miller as Chad
Renee Graham as Kaitlin
Liam Kyle Sullivan as Brant
Meghan Perry as Mo

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The year is 1960, and a young girl enters a convent armed with a container of petrol, a baseball bat and a shotgun. She douses the place in petrol then proceeds to blast and beat every nun and priest present, before igniting the fuel and leaving the building to burn...

The year is now 2000, and a group of standard horror movie expendable teens are preparing to go and daub the walls of the long since condemned convent with their fraternity house letters. There is Monica (the goth chick), Clarissa (sensible, trying to fit in with the frat crowd, obvious principle character), Brad (Clarissa's brother, nerd, frat pledge), a blonde cheerleader/bimbo/bitch, and three stoner/fratboy/jocks to add to the bodycount. As they goof about in the house the police turn up and send them on their way, but Monica stays behind to explore. In the house she encounters a group of incompetent Satan worshipers and their leader, Saul, doing the worst English accent since Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. In an attempt to raise the devil they sacrifice Monica, but instead of summoning Satan they raise the demonic souls of the murdered priests and nuns who were killed 40 years ago.

Meanwhile, the teens realise that it isn't safe for Monica to be left alone at the convent, and more importantly, one of the jocks has his left his stash there! They return to the convent to rescue Monica and the stash and in fine Scooby-doo fashion, "split up to make the search quicker"

After being attacked by demons from all sides and seing her friends butchered, Clarissa manages to escape leaving her brother inside. In desperation, she turns to the only person she thinks can help her get Brad out alive — Christine, the girl who burned down the convent in 1960. Together, they return to rescue Brad and get ready for a fight to the death with the demonic forces within the convent walls.

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Take a large pinch of Lamberto Bava's Demoni, add a liberal portion of Evil Dead, a splash of teen horror solution, a decent dollop of humour, mix it all together in a Brian Yuzna/Stuart Gordon '80s style horror movie cooking pot and cremate for 84 minutes at 4000 degrees. That's pretty much how you'd bake The Convent.

This film strikes me as perfect horror festival fodder. There's enough gore and a few laughs to keep most hardened horror fans entertained. It doesn't take itself too seriously and because of this, it works. Coolio's very small cameo performance as a gung-ho cop is absolutely hilarious, and while the main characters are a typical group of two dimensional horror movie teens they play it in such a way, they are almost a parody of themselves.

It was great to see a movie made as recently as 2000 feature no CGI in the effects (or none that was obvious), instead relying on the genre staple of foam latex and stage blood. As far as the effects go, the only criticism I could level is that there could've been a little more imagination with the methods of despatch for the teens and the demons. On the other hand, we do get presented with a demon blowjob, with predictably moist results.

Nice to see Adrienne Barbeau (Creepshow, Escape from New York) make a welcome return to the horror movie field as the tough, shotgun-toting, whisky swigging, chain-smoking adult Christine who jumps on her motorbike with Clarissa to do a bit of demon destruction. That girl can swing a machete with the best of them!

If you were stuck for a movie to watch with the boys over a few beers and a pizza, you could do a lot worse than The Convent. The movie delivers little in the way of originality, but heaps of entertainment, and that's just fine by me.

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Video and Audio:

This is a PAL Region 2 DVD. The transfer is pretty sharp. There is a slight amount of grain present, possibly due to the original film stock, but the shadows in the dark scenes are pure black, with no signs of pixellation. It's presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

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Only a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, which is quite adequate for the movie.

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Special Features:

  • Trailer
  • Cast Biographies (in Dutch)
  • Interviews with Cast & Crew (10 mins)
  • Photo Gallery

Not much to speak of, a little disappointing.

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Movie: 3 stars – Dumb, gory and highly entertaining.
Video: 4 Stars – Sharp, the best it could be considering the budget of the movie.
Audio: 3 stars – Does what it needs to and no more.
Features: 2 Stars – A token gesture.
Overall: 3 stars – A fun and enjoyable party/festival movie. The extras let the disc down a little, but the disc is priced cheaper than many 'bare-bones' discs, so who's complaining?




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About The Author
Daniel Benson
UK Editor / Webmaster
Fuelled mostly by coffee and a pathological desire to rid the world of bad grammar, Daniel has found his calling by picking holes in other people's work. In the rare instances he's not editing, he's usually breaking things in the site's back end.
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