Immaculate (2024): Is the Horror Movie Inspired by True Events?

In ‘Immaculate,’ Sydney Sweeney stars as Cecilia, a highly faithful nun who embraces the path of a new journey as she accepts a new role at a secluded convent in the picturesque Italian countryside. Upon reaching there, she is warmly welcomed and treated with the utmost love and respect by everyone at the convent. Gradually, the hidden truth behind their friendliness unravels as the woman of faith learns that her new home contains some unspeakable and horrifying horrors.

Besides Sydney, the Michael Mohan directorial also consists of compelling performances from other talented actors, such as Álvaro Morte, Benedetta Porcaroli, Dora Romano, Giorgio Colangeli, and Simona Tabasco. The familiar elements of horror are explored throughout the story, played out from the perspective of Cecilia. The religious angle of a nun infused with themes of patriarchy makes the story seem all the more authentic, causing many to wonder if it is based in reality.

Immaculate is a Work of Fiction Crafted Over a Decade

The story of ‘Immaculate’ is the brainchild of screenwriter Andrew Lobel, who had been working on it for about a decade or so. However, filmmaker Michael Mohan also played a significant role as he reportedly pulled inspiration from numerous sources, such as the 1971 movie ‘The Devils’ directed by Ken Russell. It is similar to ‘Immaculate’ in the sense that it also involves exploration into some extreme topics that might be considered taboo. Talking to The Wrap, Michael explained, “What I love about Ken Russell’s work is he is just going for it. It’s something I really relate to.”

Apart from ‘The Devils,’ the Sydney Sweeney horror film also includes references to other movies in the genre — the 1968 movie ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘Mother!‘ helmed by Darren Aronofsky, starring Jennifer Lawrence. In the original form, the script was quite different than the final draft, as claimed by the writer and Sydney Sweeney. In an interview with LA Times, Andrew was asked to elaborate on how the script had changed from its original version. He said, “The main thing was, in the early draft, she was a high school student. And so by changing the character to a nun, it gave us a much broader character arc to play. Even though the movie’s really short, she starts in one place that is so vastly different from where we leave her.”

“And knowing that you’ve got an actor as good as Syd in your back pocket to perform it, she’s going to be able to accomplish it effortlessly. I just have to keep her in focus. Anytime I would come up with a new idea, they would just immediately go, “But is it scary?” And their whole thing was just: This needs to be really scary. And I give them all the credit for pushing me in all the right ways,” Andrew added. Emphasizing the fact that the script of ‘Immaculate,’ Sydney Sweeney remembered that she was just 16 years old when she first auditioned for the role, during a conversation with Variety. She even “called the writer, Andrew Lobel, and got the clean, original draft, then reworked it to fit who I am today, keeping a lot of the same themes and storylines.”

Sydney also admitted that a storyline that was retained from the original script is still a prevalent issue in society. ‘Immaculate’ is one of those movies that consists of multiple themes and elements that make people engage in important conversations and draw their own conclusions. All in all, even though the script has gone through several changes over the years, the essence of the story has always remained the same. According to Sydney’s claims in an interview with LA Times, “…some of the scariest and most raw, guttural moments in this movie are in real life.” So, keeping all the above-mentioned factors in mind, we can come to the conclusion that ‘Immaculate’ might have a few realistic elements here and there, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is not rooted in reality.

Read More: Immaculate: Where Was Sydney Sweeney’s Horror Movie Filmed?