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Bad Habits - DANK Films Print E-mail
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Written by Ray Casta   
Friday, 25 February 2011

Bad Habits Poster on Severed Cinema

Directed by: Dominic Deacon
Written by: Dominic Deacon
Produced by: Anna Young
Cinematography by: Marcus Dineen
Editing by: Dominic Deacon
Music by: Evan Kitchener
Cast: Sandra Casa, London Gabrielle and Mat Wearing
Year: 2009
Country: Australia
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 82 min

Studio: DANK Films
Official Website: Bad Habits

DANK Films takes us on a forbidden journey with "Bad Habits," unearthing the long forgotten exploitation subgenre of Nunsploitation.

In the opening scene of "Bad Habits," Sister Marie Fenche (Sandra Casa) joins a well-dressed gentleman (Mat Wearing) in a local bar.  While she fixes herself up in the bathroom, the man discovers she has a syringe in her purse.  He inspects it and finds out it's for heroin.  When she returns to the bar, he tells her it fell out of her purse.  She has an explanation for it and says she is diabetic.  He answers back, "If you are diabetic, you shouldn't shoot heroin."  She replies, "Heroin is a painkiller.  Perfectly legal."  They talk a bit more, and it turns out the nun wants to come home with the man for a one night stand.  The man says, "I thought you were supposed to be married to God?"  The nun replies, "Me and God have an open relationship."  Dialogue in the opening sequence of "Bad Habits" had me hooked instantly.  From the haunting musical score over the credits to the noirish atmosphere, the movie grabbed my attention.

Written and directed by Dominic Deacon, the story is a dark character study about the mysterious, deeply flawed nun.  She has problems.  To put it quite simply, she is a mess.  Morally bankrupt, Sister Marie is the opposite of how a nun is supposed to be.  Along with an uncontrollable, nasty heroin addiction, she suffers from insomnia, sleeps with random strangers at seedy beers, drinks and has homicidal urges.  The story of Sister Marie is broken into three parts.  A cool nod to Lucio Fulci, the first part is entitled "Lizard in a Woman's Skin," the second is "So Sweet, So Perverse" and the third and final segment is "Crazy Hot."  After Sister Marie has sex with the man at the bar, she wakes up to discover him with his throat slashed in his own bathtub.  How did this happen?  She doesn't remember, and the murder sets off a nightmarish, bizarre series of events that recall David Lynch.

Those looking for an all out exploitation film will be disappointed here.  "Bad Habits" takes the Nunsploitation subgenre by the feet, and drops it on its head.  The film is perverse at times, but it doesn't rely on grossing its audience out to tell its story of Sister Marie and the relationship between her and her roommate, Jamie (London Gabrielle) who is also a nun.  It is more interested in the fragmented mind of its main character, and this world she occupies.  Those looking for a traditional "plot" might want to look elsewhere, too.  Stylish and surreal, the film reigns supreme in its atmosphere.  This is more about tone and atmosphere than plot.  Visually speaking, the film has a polished look that is quite accomplished for a low-budget feature.  Lighting is spot-on (deep grays and vibrant blues), the set-pieces look terrific, the city is wonderfully photographed, and the score is haunting.  Impressive feat.

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

The performance by Sandra Casa is incredible.  You see the world through her eyes, and you are a spectator as she sins wilfully and puts her body through equal parts pain and pleasure.  Her character's relationship with Jamie is damaging.  She admits later in the movie that she is not good for Jamie.  We can see why.  She drags Jamie into the darkness with her, introducing her to heroin, lesbianism, her unhealthy lifestyle in general.  Jamie is played by London Gabrielle, who projects the appropriate amount of underlying innocence and naivety into the role.  These two performances are the focus of the film, and they bring a sort of "Thelma & Louise" dynamic to their characters.  Mirrors and reflections play a part here, as Sandra Casa plays off her reflection in a few important moments.

Fantasy and reality is blurred in "Bad Habits."  Clearly, we see one character as a corpse, but the same actor returns in the movie on two other occasions, and we're left scratching our heads.  There is a scene where another character randomly appears to the Sister Marie character, and gives her advice as if he's her conscience.  The psychological dreamscape of the film is hypnotic.  Creativity is exactly what you need for a low budget, independent film to work.  This one has creativity.  It's not without its flaws, however.  The film is nearly plotless, and it contains cheesy moments here and there that can be avoided.  However, it's the "mood" that prevails here.  You've got your violence and gore with a fair share of slit throats, stabbings, some self-mutilation, disgusting heroin injections, and a shooting.  The film is also erotic and psychosexual, but it never once succumbs to exploitation.  A nice touch are the homage's to 1970's Italian cinema which are plentiful.  Dominic Deacon's "Bad Habits" is a naughty, Giallo-inspired head-trip that takes the viewer on a dark journey where nothing is what it seems.


CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Bad Habits Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

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