Tiffany Shepis - Sarah
Alessandra Guerzoni - Mother Superior
Michael Segal - Marco
Francesco Primavera - Dr. Bellini
Genre - Horror/Religious Thriller
Running Time - 92 Minutes
Score - 2.5 Howls Outta 4
PLOT - Sarah (Tiffany Shepis) joins a convent run by some really weird nuns in Italy to forget a dark past and focus on her communion with God. Once Sarah starts to get comfortable with her new life and surroundings, she suddenly has visions of horrible rape, incest, and murder. The nuns seem to know everytime Sarah seems to have these visions, punishing her for them. And when I say punishing, I mean gouging out her eyes, burning her hands, and cutting out her tongue. Let's not forget the whole emotional and mental trauma the visions and the punishments are adding on top of that. So what's going on? Why is Sarah having visions about a girl named Nimfa? What is this convent really?
STORY - NYMPHA is an interesting film that starts out as a nunploitation flick, but ends up turning into a ghost story/religious thriller. It's one of those films that's more focused on HOW things came to be instead of WHO was behind these things. The sub-plot involving Nimfa and her horrible life is pretty much the focus and it's an interesting one, sure. But the problem is that the flashbacks and Sarah's dealing with this information through her visions don't really relate all that much. I never got a sense of connection between what was happening to Nimfa and what happened to Sarah other than the torturing. Was Sarah living the same way as Nimfa? Did they share similar experiences? If we knew more about Sarah and her reasons for being in that convent to begin with, maybe the visions would have been more effective. In fact, watching NYMPHA made me realize that the whole Sarah sub-plot wouldn't have been needed to even tell most of the film's story. I'm not saying the story sucked, because it didn't. But it could have been more powerful and more cohesive than it actually was.
DIRECTION - Zuccon does a decent job, but it's obvious he was overly ambitious with this project [which he also produced, wrote, and edited]. But then again, over-ambition is better than being lazy, so kudos for that. The film looked a step-above from low-budget and it was shot well. I thought the back-and-forth storytelling was good. The pacing was a bit off during the middle of the film and kind of lost me at how uninteresting it was getting, but at least it picked up towards the end. Not a horrible directorial job but I've seen better.
VIOLENCE/SEX/LANGUAGE [aka THE GOOD STUFF] - People getting murdered and tortured were highlights. The effects were pretty well done as well, as I was convinced Sarah was physically tortured by these nuns. We get the usual Tiffany Shepis naked spot within 10 minutes of the film. We also get a short lesbian scene between Shepis and the actress playing Nimfa. We also got some foul language but nothing compared to the violence and the sex.
ACTING - Tiffany Shepis is actually very good here as Sarah. She's mainly known for her curvacious body and her lack of qualms for going nude. But Shepis is given more material here where she can actually show some emotion and allow herself to branch out to show everyone that not only is she beautiful, but she can act as well. I liked her here alot. The other actors were very good as well. The acting was probably the film's strongest suit, because I have no complaints about it.
MUSIC - Very subtle gothic score that I won't remember anytime soon. Hell, I have trouble remembering it now.
THE FINAL HOWL
NYMPHA is a slow-paced horror/thriller that's not gonna be appreciated by everyone. It's one of those films where you need to be patient in order to somewhat understand what's going on. If you're a Tiffany Shepis fan, you probably already seen this one. If you haven't, check it out. For everyone else, I think it's worth at least a look but you'll either like or you won't.