Written by Alexander Reams
There was a time long ago, when seeing Bella Thorne top-billed on a movie poster meant something good. If that film was produced, financed, and distributed by Disney, and it appeared on Disney Channel on a Friday. Nowadays she is known for her more adult content and screwing over sex workers. Even with this, she still manages to land parts in movies, her most recent being Janell Shirtcliff’s Habit. The story of a girl who gets mixed up with drug dealers and violence, then proceeds to hide as a nun. That first part sound familiar? That’s because it is the plot of countless high school films, most notably Dope.
What works for this film is the production design, providing a look that is a candy coated hilariocity that reminded me of a combination of Mandy and Edward Scissorhands. All while trying to distract the viewer from the abhorrent acting from the entire cast. They seem to be here for just a paycheck and any time words spew from their mouths, it belabored the film. Much to my chagrin. Even with this, there is a quality that I can’t quite describe which made me not want to take my eyes off the screen. Like a car crash in slow motion, by the time you reach the halfway point in the film, you’re car is still rolling.
Janell Shirtcliff is a first time director and it shows in every second of the film. The shots seemingly want to be composed as if they were from Barry Lyndon, but instead come off like a bad Banksy painting. In the end, Habit works on the most minuscule level and fails on any aspect of quality in front of the camera with its actors, and behind the camera with its editing, writing, and it’s adolescent direction. Go far, far away from this film, it is abhorrent.
Habit is currently available on VOD.