Habit (2021) Movie Review By D.M. Anderson


Director: Janell Shirtcliff
Writers: Libby Mintz (screenplay by) Janell Shirtcliff (screenplay by)
Stars: Bella Thorne, Andreja Pejic, Gavin Rossdale

Habit isn’t simply a bad movie. It’s clueless, like that nerdy guy who desperately wants to fit in with the “cool” kids but has no idea how.

Making a film with cult appeal is harder than a lot of people think. It ain’t just quirky characters, outrageous behavior, self-awareness, and scenes created for shock value. Its appeal to the fringe crowd should appear effortless, a film the director probably would have made regardless of its potential audience.

But even then, the basics of moviemaking still apply…the characters, story, and execution need to be engaging, even if only for a niche crowd.

Habit is an abject failure on all counts, a blatantly calculated attempt at Tarantino-esque hipness while neglecting to provide a single reason we should give a damn about any of these characters and the situation they’ve gotten themselves into. That situation has slutty slacker Mads (Bella Thorne) and her two dim-witted besties getting on the wrong side of psychotic, perpetually-screaming drug dealer Queenie (Josie Ho) by losing $20,000 of her money. They decide to disguise themselves as nuns so they can hide out in the home of a kindly blind woman.

However, they don’t try all that hard to stay hidden, nor do they appear very concerned for their own safety. It’s obvious the whole nun aspect of the plot is an excuse to show…well, sexy nuns with guns. However, there’s nothing sexy, likable, or even interesting about these three. Every aspect of these characters – their dialogue, nastiness, and overall nihilism – reeks of superficial attempts at edginess.

Speaking of which, Habit apparently raised the hackles of a few Christian groups due to elements they perceived as blasphemous, such as depicting Jesus as a lesbian and Mads speaking directly to Jesus while having sex with a hunky priest. But ultimately, they’re just simple-minded attempts to shock. There’s no message or commentary behind them. Those religious groups would’ve been better off getting their panties in a bunch over a movie that actually had something to say about Christianity. All they managed to do here was briefly give an inconsequential movie more attention than it deserves.

Habit is a film with obvious cult aspirations, but ultimately so desperate and tone-deaf that some viewers might experience a little second-hand embarrassment for everyone involved. After all, doesn’t a small part of us feel sort of bad for that nerd who doesn’t realize the so-called “cool” kids are laughing at him, not with him?

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