Direct from Montreal’s premiere genre film festival, Fantasia, may I present: Agnes.
Sphenisciphobia is the fear of nuns. That’s going to be relevant very shortly. Are you afraid of nuns? I don’t find them particularly scary myself, but there is something creepy about them, stripped of identity and personality, existing outside of society, of culture, of us.
The Premise: A disgraced priest and his priest-intern (priest-in-training, future priest) present themselves to an extremely cloistered convent where a young nun named Agnes is said to be possessed. What follows is a crisis of faith in more ways than one.
The Verdict: Demonic possession is a favoured horror trope. So are spooky nuns. Here director Mickey Reece combines them in his unique way, offering all the genre’s hallmarks, but poking fun of them at the same time with trademark dark humour. Agnes’ young friend and fellow nun, Sister Mary, is witness to the paranormal terrors, and finds that she cannot abide her life in faith. But leaving the convent halfway through the movie causes not just a tonal shift but a new way for Mary to grapple with her grief. The outside world isn’t easy, and whatever’s haunting Mary is sure to follow. Interesting, Reece doesn’t play up the horror. He’s more interested in the character drama that follows as she takes on the inner demons that aren’t as easy to exorcise.
Starring: Molly C. Quinn, Hayley McFarland, Sean Gunn, Chris Sullivan, Ben Hall, Jake Horowitz