Back when I worked at a video store, I know I saw this movie on the shelf and thought to myself, "I like what I'm seeing here with Alyssa's face and that little hint of cleavage. I'll have to check this out." Well, twenty years later, I'm finally checking it out. I guess better late than never, eh?
I always assumed this was a product of mid-90s thrillers such as Basic Instinct, Sliver, Erotica, The Color of Night, and Jade. It seemed as such. Throw in the Catholic-ness of it all (Milano plays a nun and David Keith is investigating murders in and around a Catholic school), Catholic school girls, and then put one of the sultriest and most loved actresses of my generation in a habit and suddenly, you got yourself a steamy thriller.
At least that is what I'm hoping for.
But what is our actual synopsis? IMDb sez... "New area deputy Jack Gage (Keith) arrives on the island to find that a girl at the local Catholic girls' school has been found dead. After investigating, he finds that students have been disappearing regularly for five years, about the time Mother Bernadette passed away. Gales and the Mother Superior's secretary Cristina (Milano) work together to try and unravel the mystery, and discover that the students and faculty all seem to have some secrets."
Now, admittedly, I have a few things I would like to see after getting a little understanding of what I'm about to watch. I want to see girls in the little plaid skirts. I feel that A) I've earned that and B) it's the 90s, that shit was just as hot, or hotter back then, as it is now. Next, I want Alyssa Milano to be struggling with being a nun. I want see her experiencing new stuff that she hadn't had to think about before. Again, I feel like I have earned that shit. Finally, I want to see a nun be the murderer. That's something you don't see too too often. Let's unwrap this and immerse ourselves in some Catholic murder mystery!
Okay, so one of the girls breaks off from the choir of girls to go up to the belfry to ring the bell. Just as she is about to do so, a hanged girl comes crashing through. That was a pretty effective thing to happen! I wasn't quite expecting it and it was pulled off well. Good job, direct-to-video-90s-thriller!
Cristina (Milano) is walking around with the Mother Superior and it's explained that the girls school hardly has electricity because they are so remote and that would explain the general darkness and spookiness of this fucking place. So Mother Superior was originally a wife, and became a nun under the previous M.S. before she died. In her room, Cristina pulls out a list of the victims and her list of suspects. I sense we have a little intrepid detective on our hands which is only made better by it being Alyssa Milano in a nun's outfit.
Ahem... Yes. Well...
Jack Gage (Keith) lands on the island where the school is. He is the new deputy of this little island. He receives two messages from the Catholic school - one for the death of the girl and the other for a missing cross. So he heads over to see "Doc" who was the medical examiner, but also the island veterinarian. Jack's not too keen on the way of life here since he's used to big city Seattle life.
If you're curious why Jack has left Seattle and sent to this tiny island, then you're just wasting time because the movie doesn't really tell us specifically.
At the school, some shit goes down. First, Beth, a popular girl, trips and bullies a sweet, timid girl named Polly. I think the nun who is helping Polly up realizes that Beth probably was at fault for tripping the girl, but seems to be more sympathetic than able to do anything about it. Next, while the coroner takes away the dead girl, Jack sees Cristina and asks Doc who that was. When he tells him her name, Jack says he swears she made eyes with him. Dude. I know you're David Keith and you're kinda awesome. Particularly in this stage of your career, but just say you got a boner for Alyssa Milano, okay? Don't pull this shit that you just pulled. It's just easier to say you think the young nun is a smokin' hot lady. It also tempers your, obvious, testosterone that you are so hot shit that you're going to make a nun throw away her vows to take a ride on your junk.
Although... I did say I wanted to see Cristina struggle with her vows, so...
|This is proof without a doubt that Alyssa Milano is the only|
sexy nun ever. Ever.
Jack is introduced to Cristina and he leaves saying he'll call when he gets the autopsy. Outside, Jack runs into Beth who is smoking. God bless the 90s where a Catholic school girl can just smoke her cigarettes on the front steps of a school like a the dirty, dirty girl she is. Er... I mean, okay, so Jack immediately gets the impression that Beth either knows too much about stuff or is a bit too grown up for her own good. However, it is Beth who mentions the previous Mother Superior has a garden and it was her cross stolen. But that Mother Superior is supposedly dead.
At lunch, Beth tortures Polly a little more after Polly was a good girl in Latin class. Beth initially goes up to her to offer a truce and asks to see the injury on her knee from when she tripped Polly. After showing it to her, Beth says that she'll need to make sure to use a pillow when she kneels. Polly, a good girl, naturally thinks she's talking about in the rectory, but Beth is really talking about when she goes down on the Latin teacher. It causes Polly to run out of the cafeteria past Cristina.
And Alyssa Milano has no time for your bullshit, Beth.
|Nun of it, Beth|
Jack learns more about Mother Bernadette who was the previous Mother Superior. It turns out she was a pretty horrible person. The locals didn't like her at all. She died about five years before the start of our movie but people says she's still around. Hmmm... Maybe that super scary lady is a super scary ghost. At the school, Cristina goes into the locked room of Mother Bernadette's and looks around. She gets busted by the current Mother Superior and scolded for going in there when she didn't have any reason to. Methinks Mother Bernadette is still around.
Later, Beth sneaks out to have sultry Catholic School Girl sex with a delivery boy. God bless the 90s for still having movies where actresses were all about being tits out. And also for scenes like this that are pretty steamy and all about the plowing of a high school girl. In the shed where Beth and Eric fucked, Beth thought she heard something, but was quickly silenced when it was time to get to business. Even Cristina is awoken by shadowy movement in her room or just outside her window. I'm thinking it was Nosferatu because that's what the shadow of the hand reaching across the room reminded me of. At the bar, the local hot bartender tells Jack that Mother Bernadette had been dead for a month before anyone caught wind of it. They even kept her body in her room with the air conditioner turned way up to keep her on ice. I'm thinking things aren't so much on the up and up at the school. Call me crazy.
The next morning, Jack gets word from Doc that the hanging girl from the beginning of the movie was strangled first, then had a cross carved on her body, and then hung. Oh, she was four months pregnant. All that adds up to foul play. When he goes to get the help from Mother Superior, she assigns Cristina to help Jack. They learn that since this Mother Superior took over, they have had eleven girls run away. Jack is none too pleased to hear that these girls have gone missing. Another girl, our previous night's victim, is now missing and Jack is given her information.
So our dynamic duo of Jack and Cristina are officially on the case!
They start with Not-Quite-Sookie from the kitchen who has lots of nice things to say about the missing girls, but after they leave, she goes back to that creepy picture of Mother Bernadette and prays to it again. They then meet with this squirrely priest dude who says that whoever took the cross (the second thing they are investigating just in case you forgot) did not do so for value. He later talks to Mother Superior and says he will have to "tell them" but she says the church is clear and he must "keep the secret".
|The bitchy Beth|
Jack and Cristina get to know each other a little better. He was a cop in Seattle for eight years before coming to this little island. She says he must have been a naughty boy to get this new assignment. Trust me, it was pretty hot to see a sexy girl dressed as a nun saying someone was a naughty boy. I am vaguely able to continue enough into the rest of the scene to find out that Cristina is not yet a nun. She doesn't take her vows for another year. They also talk about how both the Catholic school and the Seattle Police Department are hotbeds of sexual repression. Again, Jack talks about being reassigned, but it's never defined why.
That night, one of the girls takes some food to our creeper Latin teacher who's watching porn. She runs away when she feels she was touched by a female. When Jack comes to her aid, she rambles about seeing "her" and then tries kissing him to which he pushes her away. This advance by the school girl is absolutely out of nowhere. I really don't know why it exists in this movie other than to tell all the audience that Keith David is a fucking man and women should be throwing themselves at him. Similarly, Jack pushes himself away from the lovely Rita who runs the bar/diner he lives above. He keeps saying that he'll screw up the relationship with her if they did it.
Jack, do yourself a favor. Screw it up. Get up in that. Do some damage since she's pretty open it it all.
|High school sex in the 90s - we knew what we were doing.|
The next morning, a fax comes in with a grizzled picture of Gray with an arrest record. Then, Jack gets a call from Cristina who then goes to the school where she gives a history of the school and how it is essentially three buildings build on top of each other. Not only does Gray have a weird back story, but the priest, Father Anthony, graduated top of his class at Harvard and Georgetown and now is at a tiny Catholic School in the middle of nowhere. They flirt a little bit and it's kind of awkward because he's a bunch older than her.
Not only that, but that's my girl, Jack. You have one of the students and the bartender lady, and, hell, maybe even Beth, willing to get down with you. You don't need them all, Jack.
Okay, so there's another sex scene with the delivery boy, but I can't quite see which girl it is because it is not Beth. Just before Beth shows up, he gets killed by someone in a white robe. She tells Cristina, Jack, and Mother Superior that she swears she saw Mother Bernadette. Beth tells Jack that Mr. Gray knows about her and her fuck buddy. Jack goes out into the graveyard with Cristina who is a little skittish. This is actually handled kind of humorously between Jack who is not so scared to do stuff in the middle of the night in the graveyard and Cristina being scared. This movie... Is actually pretty decent.
Jack confronts Gray with his record and past. Elsewhere, Father Anthony is packed and looking to leave. Gray goes to Father Anthony and asks to speak to him, but Father Anthony leaves. On his way out, Jack stops him and says he can't leave until the investigation is over. Jack gets a search warrant and finds that Gray has sex tapes of the missing girls. Jack watches quite a bit of it, which, frankly, I would too because this Beth girl is not to bad at what she does. He tells Cristina about the tapes. She tells Mother Superior and Jack closes in on the arrest, but before he can get there, Gray kills himself.
I now also have a serious thing for nun cosplay.
They have sex and... Wow. I love Alyssa Milano. Really. I do. I love that they spend a lot of time on her tattoo on her back, her belly button ring, that she was cool to let us see a boob. I love that she decided to go balls deep in the sex scene to sincerely look like she was having sex and show me what that would look like if that were to ever happen to me one day. That's just really, really keen.
So I am taking a moment to clear my head, but I think I saw another girl get abducted. It would seem now that Gray is not the killer. I mean, this girl went missing after he killed himself right? Did the sex scene completely scramble my brain so now I don't know what's going on? That's going to be a real problem when I reach the climax of Alyssa Milano Month.
Okay, I think my brain is functioning properly again. Cristina figures out that only "good girls" are being kidnapped and/or killed. So that must mean that someone was listening to confessions to find which ones are good. She finds a little hidey hole behind the confessional, and someone in a white cloak knocks Cristina out. Outside, Jack talks to Father Anthony and comes to the same conclusion. He goes inside and finds the same little room and Cristina tied up.
Oh, great, now she's tied up. On a bed. this is going to take my brain a few more moments to clear.
I'm good to go again. Jack finds a weird room with all the dead girls sitting at what looks like the Last Supper. The figure in the cloak comes out and swings a knife at Jack. He eventually knocks out the figure, takes her knife, and unties Cristina. We learn the killer was actually Not-Quite-Sookie. She stabs Jack and before she can go in for the kill, Cristina uses the stolen cross to stab the crazy lady to death. In one window, a scary hand with creepy nail polish pulls back the curtains to see what's happening.
I guess Mother Bernadette is still alive? Oh well, case closed, David Keith gets to plow Alyssa Milano forever now and I'm officially jealous.
|Like, super jealous.|
That's not good, but overall, it was an interesting movie and enjoyable to watch. It definitely delivered some good sex scenes. It also featured interesting characters. Also, the idea that the good girls were killed was a nice twist in the slasher genre. This wasn't nearly as bad as last week's Double Dragon, but we're only getting started here, peoples.
Next week, Alyssa Milano Month continues with a turn for her to really be the good girl you thought she was in this movie in a Debra Hill-produced, made-for-Showtime remake of a classic exploitation flick. Come back to hear Confessions of Sorority Girls!