Matthew Lewis’ Gothic tome first published in 1796 is the basis for auteur director Dominik Moll’s latest film. Vincent Cassel stars as Ambrosio, the titular monk whose vibrant faith is tested and ultimately shaken to its core by the forces of evil. When Valerio, a mysterious, mannequin-masked burn victim, enters Ambrosio’s peaceful Spanish monastery, reality starts to buckle, temptation rearing its lustful head, with hidden histories soon unearthed. The sinewy Cassel is utterly convincing as a man of God wracked with guilt and struggling with cases of incest, murder, necromancy, as well as the ghosts of his past. It’s an eerie, dreamlike film, with echoes of old Universal horror movies and more than a few nods to Exorcist director William Friedkin. Don’t think for a second this is a run-of-the-mill supernatural thriller bogged down by Da Vinci codes or killer angels; this is a genuinely creepy and chilling tale.
Director: Dominik Moll
Producer: Pilar Benito, Alvaro Longoria, Michel Saint-Jean and Ricardo Fernández-Deu
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Déborah François, Joséphine Japy, Sergi López, Catherine Mouchet, Jordi Dauder, Geraldine Chaplin, Roxane Duran, Javivi, Martine Vandeville, Pierre-Félix Gravière, Serge Feuillard, Frédéric Noaille and Ernst Umhauer