Directed By: Richard Griffin
Starring: Sarah Nicklin, Alexandra Cipolla, Shanette Wilson
Tag line: "A blast for you and a blasphemy!"
Trivia: Per the actors and director, the club used as the central location for heaven was freezing cold
I suppose, as a lifelong Catholic, I should be appalled by Richard Griffin’s 2009 film Nun of That. But I’m not. In fact, I loved every minute of this over-the-top, gore-fueled exploitation throwback!
The Order of the Black Habits, a covert religious organization that converts nuns into assassins, has declared war on organized crime. When one of their own, Sister Envy (Irina Peligrad), is shot dead in a strip club (after killing a dozen or so mobsters), the Order must recruit a new member to take her place, and turns its attention towards Sister Kelly (Sarah Nicklin), whose bad tamper has gotten her into a world of trouble with her current Mother Superior (Scream Queen extraordinaire Debbie Rochon). The only problem is, for her to be properly trained, Sister Kelly has to be sent to Heaven, which is exactly where she goes when fellow nuns Sister Lust (Shanette Wilson), Sister Pride (Alexandra Cipolla), and Sister Gluttony (Ruth Sullivan) surprise her in a dark alley and put a bullet in her chest.
After being introduced to her guardian angel Oscar (Luis Brandon Aponte) as well as Jesus Christ himself (Michael Reed), Sister Kelly begins her training, which includes a lesson in martial arts conducted by Gandhi (John Joseph Gomes) and a speech delivered by Moses (Michael Bilow) about the “loopholes” one might find when studying the Commandments. Now ready for action, Sister Kelly is shipped back to earth with a new name (Sister Wrath) and a mission: to seek out and destroy Momma Rizzo (Rich Tretheway), leader of the local mob. With the help of her compatriots, Sisters Lust, Pride, and Gluttony, Sister Wrath gets down to business, but as she’ll soon discover, Momma Rizzo has a few tricks left up her sleeve, and one very pissed off Jewish hitman named Viper Goldstein (David Lavallee Jr.) on speed-dial. Will Sister Wrath complete her divine task, or will she wind up back in heaven sooner than she thinks?
Nun of That is packed to its breaking point with exploitation goodness, most of which is as funny as it is shocking. The highlights include the opening shootout, in which Sister Envy, after performing a striptease, pulls an Uzi from under her skirt and starts blasting every gangster in sight. Equally as violent is the scene where Sister Kelly, on her way to her new “assignment”, is nearly raped by a trio of punks (George W. Aldrich II, A.J. Paratore and Nathan A. Quattrini), who quickly learn that they picked on the wrong nun. Also fun (and fairly bloody) is a late sequence set at a sisters-only club known as the “Bar Nun”, where the women act more like bikers than brides of Christ. Yet the movie’s most outrageously entertaining moment comes when Sister Kelly first arrives in heaven, at which point Jesus launches into a techno-fueled song and dance routine! I also liked how writer / director Griffin named several characters after cult filmmakers, including gangster Richie Corbucci (Brandon Luis Aponte) and Father O’Bannon (Nolan Kerr).
A low-budget picture, Nun of That does suffer (albeit slightly) from less-than-stellar CG effects (gunshots, blood spatters, etc). On the plus side, though, is the film’s strong cast, which does an exceptional job. Sarah Nicklin makes for a convincing bad-ass, and Shanette Wilson’s Sister Lust delivers some of the movie’s best lines (her “prayer” asking God to send her a man is priceless). Michael Reed (in a dual role as both Jesus and the Devil), Rich Tretheway (in drag, playing Momma Rizzo) and David Lavallee Jr. (as Viper Goldstein) are also excellent. These performances, combined with a steady stream of balls-out action, loads of “WTF” moments, and a cameo by Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman (as the Pope) helped make Nun of That one of the more enjoyable viewing experiences I’ve had in a while.