THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL on Netflix is a thriller based on the true crime known as the “Circeo massacre”. A truly brutal case from 1975. As such, this movie is very brutal as it largely follows the real story. Read our The Catholic School movie review here!

THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL is a new Netflix addition from Italy (org. title La scuola cattolica). It’s based on the true story of the crime known as “The Circeo Massacre” (or “Massacro del Circeo”) that took place in September 1975. This means the final act of the movie is extremely brutal.

Not that we see much physical violence inflicted. We do, however, see the aftermath of each event. And, of course, the psychological horror of these events is undeniable. Make sure you watch the facts listed at the end of the movie. Not that you’ll feel better – quite the opposite – but to make things better, we need to know these facts.

Continue reading our The Catholic School movie review below. The film is out on Netflix from September 14, 2022.

The Catholic School is based on the Circeo Massacre

As already mentioned, The Catholic School is a movie based on a truly brutal case from 1975. However, since this is a fictional take on the case and not a true-crime documentary, the movie attempt to give us more insight. Not to help make the perpetrators understood, but rather to explain everything that went on before the event.

The first two acts show us how all the young men in this rather affluent area in Rome, are consistently conditioned to become “real men”. Some of the professors even state very matter-of-factly that to become a man, you need to do evil and have evil done unto you.

MORE ON THE REAL CASE (WHICH OBVIOUSLY HAS SPOILERS FOR THE FILM)

Not too much exists in English, but this Reddit write-up is definitely worth checking out >

These teachings are obviously dark and terrible, but also explain the worldview of these young men. Just as it explains that many of these young men look elsewhere for guidance. Among these boys (or young men), you’ll find all the classic types, you would in any High School all across the world.

Also, there is a focus on the fact that only one of the young men actually believes in God. He comes from a family that preaches love and understanding, which conflicts with most of what he is otherwise told. A stark contrast that becomes important to show that religion in itself is not the problem. The way it is taught and abused is!

After those first acts introducing the difference in family and background, we start to follow those that will go on to commit the terrible crimes of kidnappings, rape, torture, and murder. As such, the final act of this movie is very brutal as it largely follows the real story of the Circeo Massacre.

The Catholic School – Review | Netflix Thriller

Amazing – and terrifying – performances

Most of the young actors in The Catholic School on Netflix won’t be familiar. A few of the faces are recognizable, but not for the most part. However, their performances are truly inspiring. And also, absolutely terrifying. Especially those of the three young men responsible for committing the crimes of rape, torture, and murder.

I especially have to mention Luca Vergoni, who is excellent at being truly charming – which explains how the girls were lured into a trap – and then turned into a true monster. Luca Vergoni is definitely someone, I’d expect to see in more movies. And also, Benedetta Porcaroli (Perfect Strangers) who plays one of the two female victims.

When it comes to the adults, you’ll see a few more familiar faces. This true crime is one that still sends ripples through the legal system in Italy and continues to try and have changes and amendments made to criminal laws.  As mentioned in the pre-end credit text, rape wasn’t even considered a crime against the victim when this true crime took place!

And since The Circeo Massacre is such an important milestone in Italy, we get very big Italian names in small roles. They tend to portray parents of the all the kids, who are part of the core cast. You’ll see Valeria Golino (Hot Shots!, Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Valentina Cervi (True Blood), and Riccardo Scamarcio (John Wick 2, Welcome Home).

Watch The Catholic School on Netflix now!

Stefano Mordini is the director of The Catholic School and he also co-wrote the screenplay. The movie (and, as such, the screenplay) was based on the novel by Edoardo Albinati. The screenplay was written by director Stefano Mordini, Massimo Gaudioso & Luca Infascelli.

Previously, director Stefano Mordini has worked on many documentaries as well as feature films. This is probably close to an ideal resumé when it comes to making fictional films based on true stories.

This is definitely not an easy movie to watch. In fact, that final act will probably be very difficult to watch for many.

For most, due to the psychological horror inflicted on the victims. For others, the explicit nudity (male and female) and direct brutality of it all. I feel that you need to acknowledge evil, to be able to defeat it. For this reason alone, we need to know these stories to fight similar crimes in the future.

The Catholic School (org. title La scuola cattolica) is on Netflix from September 14, 2022.

Details

Director: Stefano Mordini
Screenwriter: Massimo Gaudioso, Luca Infascelli, Stefano Mordini. Novel: Edoardo Albinati
Cast: Benedetta Porcaroli, Luca Vergoni, Giulio Pranno, Federica Torchetti, Fabrizio Gifuni, Fausto Russo Alesi, Valentina Cervi, Valeria Golino, Riccardo Scamarcio, Jasmine Trinca, Corrado Invernizzi, Angelica Elli, Sergio Romano, Marco Sincini, Giulio Tropea, Sofia Iacuitto, Lorenzo Di Iulio

Plot

In a residential district of Rome there is a well-known Catholic boy’s school where the offspring of the upper middle-class are educated. The families feel that in that setting their children will be able to grow up sheltered from the turmoil pervading society and that a strict education will fling the doors of a bright future wide for them.

On the night between 29 and 30 September of 1975 something broke down and that fortress of irreprehensible values crumbled beneath the weight of one of the most heinous crimes of the period: the Circeo massacre. The culprits are in fact former students at that school. Edoardo, who attended the same school, tries to explain what triggered so much blind violence in those minds carried away by distorted political ideas and an irrepressible craving for dominance.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina