THE CONVENT is lurid, melodramatic and very overly done. It's filled with gore of the extra juicy variety; by the end of the picture I don't think there's an actor, costume or surface that isn't adorned with its own splatter of blood or surplus body parts. Especially eyeballs.
Just to get it out of the way up front and to clear up any potential confusion, while I didn't enjoy THE CONVENT at all, I still gave it a relatively high star-rating of 8/10. This sometimes happens with my reviews because my enjoyment of the movie and my standards/methods for rating them are two separate issues. I rate movies on a relative scale based upon two general criteria: did the movie turn out to be the movie that it's creators intended to make and how does the movie rate against others of its subjectively perceived genre. Neither of these criteria say anything about whether or not I like a movie. If the creators of a movie work hard to do a quality job and circumstantially produce a movie whose subject matter disagrees with me, I simply don't think it's fair for me to knock it because my personal tastes run along different lines.
And I can very confidently say that this is exactly the movie it's creators intended to make. Spot on. So good on them.
The setting of THE CONVENT appears to be, at a guess, around the late Middle Ages. Everything is damp, dark and dirty and top-loaded with ignorance and superstition. And human filth. Everybody looks cold, dirty, smelly and unhappy and would probably still be so were they not having to deal with evil supernatural entities. I couldn't prove it, but I would suspect that everybody has smallpox or diarrhea. Probably both. It is these characteristics that make it a movie I would not enjoy. I only stuck with it so that I could produce a legitimate review.
After some opening credits mixed with flash-clips of voiced-over bloody scenes, THE CONVENT opens with a cursory "necromancy" trial featuring, for all of maybe four minutes, Michael Ironside. This gives the movie a recognizable name-brand actor on its documentation to feature at the beginning, and we never see him again. A grim and crotchety mother superior shows up at the last second and retrieves a terrified and tongue-tied young woman out of a death sentence and whisks her off to the titular convent.
Unfortunately, the convent has a demon vermin problem. Apparently, several decades ago, a collection of new novices, led by a particularly charismatic novice-leader, summoned a demon. The foam-brained idea was that simple devotion to their religious beliefs was insufficient to win divine approval and that a dramatic "test" was required to adequately "prove" their absolute faith. So they decided to summon an evil spirit and the "proof" of their absolute faith would be their ability to control it through their faith. Yep.
Predictably, things did not go well. The evil spirit busted loose, killed most of the novices and permanently possessed the innocent, sacrificial novice, leaving her to roam the halls of the convent "forever". The charismatic leader novice stayed and eventually became the mother superior, and one other novice ran away from the convent. We learn the details of these events from that escaped novice, now a very old woman at the time most of the movie takes place.
The arrival into the convent of the young woman from the necromancy trial results in the supernatural energies getting all hot and sweaty and your basic gory mayhem begins and accelerates through to the dénouement at the end of the movie.
The end. Oh, and make sure you get past the end credits because there's a brief punctuation scene at the very end. I'll bet you can guess what it is before you get there.
The occasions of stilted acting are relatively few, most of the acting is adequate to purpose, and some of the old dames in the movie actually do a right respectable job. Production values and period costumes and settings are good. The music does run the gamut from pretty awful (context inappropriate) to pretty good so things are somewhat uneven from that standpoint. THE CONVENT engages in amateurish camerawork (unjustified close-ups, shaky cam, screwball angles and etc.) only occasionally.
I didn't like the movie because excess gore (blood spraying in all directions, eyeballs pulled out of heads, juicy stabby sounds, heads pounded into mush) all in the context of an era notable for being smelly, disease riddled, damp, moldy and cruel just doesn't float my boat. You wouldn't want to go there outside of an environment suit and you couldn't touch anything without using tongs. This perspective probably stems from my early experience with a not dissimilar movie, CRY OF THE BANSHEE with Vincent Price around 1970. I was about 11 at that time and the movie impressed me deeply as being nauseating to watch. That set my sensibilities about such movies a long time ago.
So, if this sounds like the type of movie you like watching, I can recommend it. Personally, I'd rather go swimming in a cesspool, but to each his own I suppose.