AGNES (2021) Reviews of demonic possession nunsploitation

 

Agnes is a 2021 American horror film about demonic possession at a religious convent that prompts a church investigation. Meanwhile, a disaffected priest and his neophyte are confronted with temptation, bloodshed and a crisis of faith.

Directed by Mickey Reece (Climate of the Hunter; Strike, Dear Mistress, and Cure His HeartArrows of Outrageous Fortune) from a screenplay co-written with John Selvidge, the Divide/Conquer-Perm Machine-QWGmiremovie co-production stars Hayley McFarland, Molly C. Quinn, Sean Gunn, Chris Browning and Rachel True.

Reviews:

“Had each half been committed to as a full-length feature I think Reece would have had a duo of winners on his hand – I personally would love to see the first section extended for the knowingly camp performances alone – but as Agnes stands in its format here, it’s far too uneven and unresolved. There’s promise throughout but these two halves have unfortunately not made a whole worthy of complete forgiveness.” The Au Review

“Frankly it’s a bit of a mess. I don’t know anything about the production history but the two halves don’t match up well: were they two short films stuck together to make a feature? If the producers had made two separate films – a darkly comic possession flick, and a gritty urban drama – I think both would have been very watchable.” Bloody Flicks

“A lot of what makes Reece’s style so distinctive is that it has a very low-budget feel to it, but still feels very inspired. There is clearly a lot of influence from the classic exorcism movies, but there’s a lot of quirkiness to it. Part of the unsettling nature of the film comes from the tongue-in-cheek humor of Reece.” Disappointment Media

Agnes is fundamentally ill-equipped to tackle the deeply personal question of feeling a connection to God. Weirdly flippant and disjointed, this obtuse movie is ham-handed in its bungled exploration of faith.” Escape Into Film

“John Selvidge and Mickey Reece write a script that seems to sadistically toy with our expectations. Not fully satisfied with simply telling a story, we get tonal shifts that work as a subtle distraction to where the audience thinks the story might wander […] This is not everyone’s exorcism movie.” Horror Buzz

Agnes raises interesting points about the rise of belief in the devil, despite a decrease in belief in God […] A lack of closure in the final act left me feeling empty. I would have to watch Agnes again in order to digest the two disparate sections, but as it stands, I loved part one and strongly disliked part two.” Josh at the Movies

“The film does attempt to bring the plot full circle by the end but stumbles from its deviation resulting in a conclusion that never feels fully earned and or completed. It is the only hindrance in an otherwise serviceable story that offers two halves – one entertaining, the other confusing.” Keith Loves Movies

” …that latter half is where the performances really shine, especially Molly C. Quinn’s. What you lose in demon-possession fun, you gain in multi-layered, emotionally complex character exploration…” Nightmare at Film Street

“Some critics might fawn over Agnes and find all kinds of meaning and importance in the never-ending conversations about life and faith […] In 2019 the director combined horror and comedy in an artsy and untraditional manner in Climate of the Hunter. However, Agnes does not earn the same balance of horror and pretentiousness and, instead, renounces all the terror and trauma for a far more mundane second half.” Nightmarish Conjurings

“Those who go in anticipating slam-bam possess me mam pyrotechnics will be utterly underwhelmed, not least by one of the most ethereally abrupt endings in recent memory. However, those looking for a more subtle rendering of the devil’s dealings will soak up its rebellious nature and cool cinematic contrariness.” The People’s Movies

“Discordant and fascinating, bizarre and deeply affecting, Agnes marks an intriguing and strong step in Reece’s filmography. Moving between outrage, love, cynicism, and loneliness, it follows a lost woman trying to recover why she might never have had, and the forces that surround her, those who would take and those that try to give.” Screen Anarchy

Cast and characters:

Hayley McFarland … Agnes
Molly C. Quinn … Mary
Sean Gunn … Paul Satchimo
Chris Browning … Father Black
Rachel True … Sister Ruth
Jake Horowitz … Benjamin
Zandy Hartig … Sister Honey
Heather Siess … Waitress 3
Ben Hall … Father Donaghue
Bruce Davis … Earl
Ginger Gilmartin … Wanda
Chris Freihofer … Father Cappa
Mary Buss … Mother Superior
Cait Brasel … Sister Margaret
Jacob Ryan Snovel … Pete

Technical details:

93 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.55:1

Trailer: