It’s the spooky season, and Netflix has returned with a film that is surprisingly linked to 2017’s successful Spanish-language film Veronica. Veronica was a one-off film based on a true story, which didn’t seem to have the potential for something more, but here we have a prequel (take it with a grain of salt) about an interesting character from the film. Sister Death goes back about 60 years before the events of Veronica, where we learn about Sister Narcisa and how she became the infamous blind nun named Sister Death. Brought to us by director Paco Plaza, who also made the 2017 film, Sister Death is set up as a more slow-burn film that will leave you haunted, just like Veronica. It’s become common practice to pick semi-important or interesting characters from horror franchises that are decently successful to expand films into universes. The Conjuring is the biggest example of this. Now more and more horror franchises will be doing spin-offs or have already been making unnecessary sequels for the sake of nostalgia bait that no one asked for. Sister Death, on the other hand, comes out of nowhere, six years after the release of its predecessor. Considering the fact that Veronica was based on a true story, it was unrealistic to expect anything in the same “universe,” especially a fictionalized prequel.
Story and Plot
Sister Death follows the story of novice Narcisa since her childhood. Set in post-civil war Spain, the story is dark and gritty, depicting the vices of mankind with the mask of a horror movie. When Narcisa, the miracle girl who is famous in the area as one who has seen Mother Mary, arrives at a convent to teach some young girls, strange things begin to happen. Don’t worry, this film is not like the Nun films, it has a much deeper meaning and isn’t just here for the scares. More than Narcisa’s story, this story is about the atrocities committed during the war and their consequences thereafter. Narcisa uncovers some shocking truths about the convent and the people in it. Will she be able to find her answers and feel at peace with her choices? Or will she have to leave what she’s doing because of the fear of doubt? We know she will become a nun in the future, but in her old age, she’s treated as someone with an intellectual disability, although she’s quite a psychic, as Veronica finds out.
As seen in the trailer, Narcisa discovers a box filled with items that belong to someone else. Whoever this person was is trying to give Narcisa a message, but she is unable to see it. The children in the convent tell stories about a ghost girl. She draws a hangman on the walls, and if she writes your name, then you’re cursed. Narcisa already has doubts about being a nun. Being the special miracle girl has put too much pressure on her, and she now worries she’s not worthy of it. This gift she has been given has been missing for many years, so she feels as if she’s sinning by being in the convent.
In Sister Death Narcisa must find the truth behind the ghost girl and answer why she curses people in the convent. But she must also resolve her inner turmoil and “see” what her real calling is. As we can imagine, the film uses a lot of blasphemous imagery, like burning Jesus, upturned crucifixes, and other Catholic symbolism. Most importantly, this film answers the question of how and why Narcisa blinded herself. In Veronica, she told Veronica that she used to be afraid of what she saw, so she blinded herself only to realize that she didn’t need eyes to see clearly. The film looks to be visually awe-inspiring based on the trailer, which has some incredibly gorgeous scenes.
What we can imagine is that this story isn’t a clear black-and-white one, as is usual with religious horror. Good always triumphs over evil. Instead, like Veronica, which had a bleak ending, we might get something that is grayer and makes us question things.
Before watching Sister Death we would recommend looking up trigger warnings to make sure you’re comfortable watching this film. The film is not only gore and violence but also depicts other trauma triggers.
Cast And characters
- Aria Bedmar plays Sister Narcisa to the T. This year, she was previously seen in the Netflix original Muted. She takes on the role of the doubt-ridden Sister Narcisa, who can’t seem to understand what she must do. The fear, anxiety, and doubt all translate fantastically, and she’s got a very pleasant approach to the role, which demands a lot from the actor.
- Maru Validvelso plays skeptical Sister Julia. She plays an interesting character who doesn’t quite believe in the Holy Girl. Sister Julia may fuel the doubt within Narcisa and make things worse for her. Maru was also seen in Veronica.
- Almudena Amor plays the role of Sister Socorro, a very integral part of this story. Almudena was previously seen in The Grandmother and The Good Boss. She does a fantastic job in Sister Death and is one to look out for.
Where To Watch
Sister Death is a Netflix original directed by Paco Plaza (Veronica) and will be released on October 27, 2023. The film is a prequel to the successful 2017 Spanish-language horror film Veronica, which supposedly made audiences turn off their Netflix in fright and leave (we doubt it though). The film is produced by El Estudio, a rising production house in Spain, Mexico, and the US. You can watch this film worldwide on Netflix.