There have been at least a hundred horror movies where we have seen a doll as the primary force of haunting. This is one of the oldest genre tropes that will probably stay relevant for at least a hundred more years, if not more. And we can’t deny the effectiveness of the doll horror genre either. The Communion Girl, the latest Spanish horror offering, is yet another fruit of this doll-horror genre that has nothing particularly new to offer but manages to deliver by sticking to the basics. Let’s take a closer look at this one.
What Happens In The Movie?
The Communion Girl opens with this girl, Sonia, being haunted by this creepy doll wearing communion clothes. Sonia is clearly under a lot of stress, and there are some sort of strange marks on her body. She gets further agitated when her boyfriend comes to visit her. Despite him trying to calm her down, it only gets worse as Sonia sees the ghostly doll again and stabs herself to death in front of her screaming boyfriend.
Four years later, Sara and her sister Judith move to the same Spanish country town with their parents. The family is under some economic duress, which is why they have moved to the town in order to work for Sara’s aunt, Teressa, a nosy woman Sara doesn’t seem to approve of. Sara’s parents seem to be the usual doting parents you’ve seen in so many movies before, who would like their teenage daughter to come back home before 1 am and would ground her if she didn’t comply. Sara’s only friend in town is Rebecca, aka Rebe, a rebellious young girl with an extremely abusive father.
At Judith’s first communion, Sara comes across a woman who is looking for her daughter, Marisol. The same day, Sara and Rebe go out for a fun night out, and upon missing their ride back home, they hitchhike with towners Chivo and Pedrito. While Pedrito and Sara form an instant connection, Chivo makes Rebe uncomfortable by trying to pull a prank by driving the car into the jungle. The movie really takes off when, on the same night, Sara sees a young girl wearing communion clothes in the jungle and eventually finds a doll, the same creepy-looking one that was responsible for what happened to Sonia.
Sara and Rebe soon notice strange marks on their bodies, which they perceive as some sort of allergic reaction from the ecstasy pills that they took on their night out. But Sara starts getting haunted by a ghost who takes her consciousness into an unknown place where she finds herself inside a well, and then she drowns under the water. All this while her body in the real world would remain motionless. Upon finding out about this, Sara’s father blamed it on his daughter’s wild lifestyle and grounded her. Rebe also starts getting haunted in a similar manner, and her already miserable life only becomes more difficult. The girls try to warn Chivo about the imminent danger; he also appears to have similar marks on his body, which he hides from everyone. However, Chivo fails to survive as he accidentally crashes his car and dies after getting haunted, as Rebe and Sara look at it happening helplessly.
Sara, Rebe, and Pedrito keep investigating, which leads them to learn about this girl named Marisol from one of the old communion videos curated by the local priest, Father Mannuel, who also died after getting haunted by the ghost. The search for Marisol eventually takes Sara and Pedrito to the woman who was looking for her daughter Marisol early on in the movie. It is finally revealed that all Marisol ever wanted was to be treated like a human being instead of being shunned by the people of the town for the strange marks on her skin. On the day of her communion, Marisol went to this abandoned area of the town and never returned. Upon realizing why Marisol keeps haunting them, Sara goes to the same place where Marisol went missing. She encounters the ghost, but instead of trying to get away, she hugs Marisol tightly, and that puts an end to the haunting for the time being. Thinking all the ghostly business is over, Sara and Rebe seem to be relaxing and planning their days ahead, only to get attacked by a monstrous presence again, implying that Marisol was not the only ghost and that the creepy doll that she found is the real origin of all the haunting.
The worst thing about a movie like The Communion Girl has to be just how familiar everything is. There is not a single thing that you haven’t experienced or seen before in horror movies. Even the twists that are supposed to shock and surprise you fail to do the job because you would probably have seen them coming already. It is not mandatory to try out new and original things in every single movie. A familiar story can be told in a riveting manner. But a certain amount of flair and x-factor is needed for that, and Victor Garcia’s movie lacks in that department. From the opening scene, where a woman gets haunted, to the closing one, which in a way mirrors the opening scene itself, everything is done by the book here, and the director’s unwillingness to do things a little bit differently is utterly frustrating, especially considering the fact that Garcia has been in the business for quite some time.
However, there are things in The Communion Girl that deserve some appreciation. I thought it was a good choice to infuse the arc of different kinds of parenting into the narrative. This certainly adds some value to the otherwise one-dimensional script. The acting by the cast is pretty much on point, and especially the performance from Carla Campra as Sara is really good. Despite being handed the usual horror movie heroine part, Campra brings in a lot of layers to Sara and plays the role with enough conviction. Apart from her, Marc Soler as Pedrito and Aina Quinones, who plays the part of Rebe, also manage to shine.
There is still a large audience for conventional jump-scare horror movies like The Communion Girl, which very much justifies their existence. If not anything, it at least manages to serve us some chilling moments of well-designed terror. And the story is interesting enough to hold your attention from start to finish. On a day when you are looking for a regular dose of conventional hours with the agenda of having some fun, The Communion Girl would fit the bill.