Reviewbr> "Marie when was the last time you slept?" - Michael
Sister Marie is one very bad nun with some nasty habits. Besides smoking and drinking, dropping heroine, she picks up random dudes in bars and goes back to their place for some non-Vatican approved nun action. The Devil has really got into Sister Marie and when she wakes up in someone else's bedroom with a dead dude in the bathtub, well there's going to be the devil to pay.
Surprisingly Marie takes dead dude pretty well, guess it's that sisters of Christ training coming through, and heads on home to the flat she shears with Sister Jamie. Things get slightly out of control from here with gay sailors, drug dealers, and Marie not able to determine if she is being set up or it's some punishment from God. Oh did I mention we get lesbian nun action that almost evolved to lesbian nuns with guns action. Ozploitation clashes with nunsploitation and heads into giallo central, suddenly the world is a much better place for the cinematic fan.
Once in a while you get handed a movie that tantalisingly promises to be much more than a one night fling easily forgotten the next door. Bad Habits is that movie. Don't go in expecting to simply watch things and then move on with your life as the end credits roll, this is one movie that is going to force you to get your mental agility on. Things aren't as they seem, with Bad Habits open to multiple interpretations. Just when you think you have things worked out the movie will throw up another twist to make you rethink Bad Habit's terms of reality. It's a surreal nightmare with more twists than an Argento giallo outing.
Director/Writer Dominic Deacon, here working off a small budget in his debut feature, will grab your attention and hold it with a series of bizarre images that all make sense in the overall scheme of things as the movie unfolds. A nun applying lipstick in a bathroom, two gay sailors making out in a decrepit ally way, a guy with his throat slashed lying in a bathtub. Deacon doesn't let up with a constant barrage of money shots that flow without any pretentious build up or thunderous score giving away key plot points or shock scenes. While the great unwashed charge on mass to the latest Hollywood blockbuster of ineptitude, simply great cinema like Bad Habits slips under their mouth breathing radars.
Clearly the movie is destined to be a cult classic, it deserves a wider audience however
Behind the camera Deacon is doing the best he can with limited resources. We don't get things like Raimi's track cam, or sweeping overhead panoramas, what we do get is solid film making with the pace flowing uninterrupted. At no stage is the audience taken out of the movie by an abrupt scene transition, or a jolt that fits outside the flow, Deacon has this bad boy by the short and curlies and lets it flow like beer on a hot summer's night. Motifs abound in quite possibly meaningful fashion, hey Reviewer here I leave the interpretations to the self-proclaimed Critics, but check out the use of trains, the moon, etc as the action goes down. Deacon does provide some camera flourishes, he has this urban grunge thing going down with streetscapes for example.
Actually we all know that eventually Boredwood is going to commit the cardinal sin of remaking The Exorcist, yes I'm cringing at the thought of someone like Rob Zombie slaughtering it via not getting what the movie is about as well, if the Studios have to do the unthinkable then they could do a lot worse than throwing $30 million at Deacon and Dank films. Just a thought and it would certainly give me at least some confidence following the last couple of attempts at rebooting The Exorcist franchise.
Narrative wise Deacon has broken his movie into three parts, Lizard In A Womans Skin, So Sweet... So Perverse, and Crazy Hot. Once again if this was a critical site we would probably spend quite some time on the structure, but what you should be picking up on is there's a lot more to Bad Habits than being simply a vehicle for T&A, though Deacon isn't beyond getting that happening either. For mine you need to keep an eye on the character development of Jamie, it's an interesting angle. Is Marie corrupting Jamie, the whole heroin thing, or is Jamie more than she first appears, taking into account this could all be a drug induced nightmare in some Asylum. Yeah that sort of movie, nothing should be taken for granted when you have dead characters suddenly re-appearing.
Sandra Casa and London Gabrielle by the way are all over the movie, Deacon is getting solid performances right across the board from his cast.
About an hour into the movie I decided I had the plot roped and branded. Marie is suffering through some severe mental trauma caused by the unwanted attentions of an Uncle she was left with over the holidays as a young girl. She is unable to sleep hence the almost hallucinating aspects of the movie, and is attempting to drown out reality with a constant stream of drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately she is attracted to men who remind her of her uncle, leading to violence and a situation spiralling out of control. Of course that analysis could be completely wrong, the final scenes indicating there's more to the tale than a piece of from the hip psychology can explain. Is Jamie in reality far removed from the na´ve nun she appears to be through the course of the movie, or is it a case of Nietzsche's staring into the abyss? Hey catch the movie and make your own mind up.
Regardless if you agree or not with my interpretation, you will be forced to acknowledge that Dominic Deacon delivers one of the best scripts yet written in this Century.
In keeping with ozploitation aesthetics Deacon goes hard on the T&A. Both Sandra Casa and London Gabrielle get down to their undies, proving the Australian lingerie market is still healthy. Naturally we also get boobs and plenty of sex action as Deacon hots up the screen. If you're a follower of the Rev. Fred Nile and his happy band of bible bangers then you are probably going to hell just by seeing this movie. And that folks is my community message for the year.
Guess I should mention that the naughty bits aren't overly gratuitous, they are necessary in terms of the overall movie structure and bringing home the bacon in terms of explicitly nailing the situation our two Nuns of the macabre find themselves in.
Evan Kitchener provides the score that ranges from piano driven to heavily string orientated. Kitchener doesn't miss a beat in backing Deacon's visuals. The score is solid nailing the action and building the tension in quite some style.
Bad Habits is one of those movies that has taken quite some time to become available in Australia. Pretty much from the first day ScaryMinds made it to the internet I've been waiting for the movie to be released. With that sort of build up a film is pretty much on a hiding to nothing in terms of anticipation, thankfully Deacon nailed it making the wait well worth it. I rocked on with Deacon's journey into the surreal nightmare world of the Nuns of perpetual indulgence. One of the best movies I've seen all year, full recommendation to anyone who loves them some quality cinema. Bad Habits will provide the fix true movie fans have been waiting on all year.
I'm not entirely sure if Bad Habits is available down your local DVD stockist but it can be ordered online at Dank Films. The delightful Anna Young, who also does sterling work producing the movie, processed our site order quicker than Sister Marie can knock back a shoot of voddie.