Short Film Review: Maniac Nun on a Mission to Kill Leo Fontaine (2019)

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I was reached out to recently on Twitter by a filmmaker named James Dean. He blindly sent me a DM asking if I wanted to see his movie. (I love it when y’all send me movies! Please send me more! I’ll watch anything!) James, sent me a short film that he financed by himself entitled, “Maniac Nun on a Mission to Kill Leo Fontaine”. Seeing that title, I was sold immediately. I’m a huge fan of those genres. This particular short is a lovingly executed throwback to Nunsploitation flicks as well as revenge films like Death Wish.

The film is about a nun named Mary who goes on a revenge rampage after her younger sister dies from a drug overdose. She makes it her mission that those responsible for it pay. An eye for an eye, literally.

This movie feels like you’re sitting in your car, seats reclined, with the speakers hanging in the car on a warm, balmy night at the Drive-In. It has all the trappings of the exploitation movies that influenced it, even down to the film grain filter used throughout the 16 minute and 28 second flick. It’s wonderfully sleazy, violent, gory, and worth every second.

Doesn’t she look great?

The editing is really tight and to the point, you can barely notice it which is a huge plus. The best kind of editing is when you don’t notice. The visual language is used to convey a lot of information so the character’s aren’t only exposition machines. Things happen organically, it flows really well. The actors are definitely having a lot of fun in their roles. The effects used for the fight scenes are great, they fit the tone and style of the film perfectly. Movies are a lot like a dance, one wrong move and it throws everything off. This one just keeps going and doesn’t stop. Overall, the entire thing is a lot of fun. Simple as that. I also loved the easter egg scenes from “Lady Frankenstein” from 1971 at the end.

I started watching this with one of my roommates. After the first scene, we were both so into it we didn’t realize how loud we were being. The movie has a lot of energy to it. We were cheering Mary on, then one by one, every roommate in my house piled into the room. Next thing I know there’s five of us in here all having the time of our lives.

Lately, there’s been some issues with group cohesion around the house, lots of anxiety. This movie helped everyone calm down a bit, get together and have fun. One roommate was chanting, “I’m totally here for this! I’m totally here for this!” Another was just completely transfixed, couldn’t take his eyes off the screen. Another was just feeling the catharsis of Mary’s revenge. We were all so excited to see how the short unfolded.

There’s a very strong voice in genre/cult/horror cinema waiting to be unleashed upon the masses. I LOVE the low-budget charm of this, but just think how much could be accomplished with a full budget? Keep an eye on James Dean. He’s just getting started!

His shorts are posted free to YouTube. Right here is the movie in its entirety! “Maniac Nun on a Mission to Kill Leo Fontaine”:

If you wish to support Indie Film, and more like this from this filmmaker, send a bit of support his way through Paypal: JamesD7004@aol.com

You can find James Dean through social media on these platforms:

Twitter: @jamesd7004 and;

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBt0ZsMEbHiJTXxlORBLBZA


EDITOR’S NOTE: As a fan of his work, I felt compelled to post a full version of Chris Barnes’ AMAZING poster for this film. Follow Chris on Twitter @BRUTALPosters.

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Alice Collins

Alice is a life-long lover of the so-called “lesser genres”, especially horror. The catharsis of it gives her comfort. She is a writer, musician, and a girl you don't want to play Tetris against. You'll find her frequently talking about assorted nerdy and LGBTQIA+ topics on Twitter. (She/Her). Like what I do? Buy me a coffee by sending some PayPal money to: blyssbeth@gmail.com