Agony is a 2020 Italian mystery thriller film in which a New York family woman goes to Tuscany to execute her estranged mother’s will. There, she deciphers visions of her forgotten childhood and confronts a spectral “Lady in Red,” whose dark secret unlocks a terrifying destiny.
Produced and directed by Michele Civetta (The Gateway) from a screenplay co-written with Joseph Schuman.
The Quintessence Films production stars Asia Argento, Jonathan Caouette, Monica Guerritore, Salerno Claudia, Ninetto Davoli, Giulia Di Quilio and Franco Nero.
” …what plot there is is far too slender and Civetta doesn’t know how to unravel it, relying on long stretches of exposition and demanding from his star a performance which most actors would struggle with and which she is simply not capable of delivering. With nobody else getting very much screen time, the enterprise falls flat…” Eye for Film
“There are some good things in Agony–Argento’s increasingly anguished performance is pretty harrowing by the end, the look of the estate, which screams “decaying Visconti,” and Davoli’s ever-beaming grin […] is used in a subversively sinister way here–but it’s a structural and tonal disaster.” Good Efficient Butchery
“Unfortunately, when Agony veers into the more explicitly horror territories, the garish colour effects cheapen the overall ambience. Poorly written dialogue also renders Isidora’s breakdown uninspired rather than moving. It’s a shame that, for all of its unnerving tonal registers, not to mention a gorgeous score, Agony winds up with a painfully predictable ending.” The Guardian
“It teases an extra layer by trying to jazz up a tale of grief, anger and loss; the supernatural and mystery angle only serves to confuse matters. The attempt to make it more than what it actually is fails to work, however exciting the premise, but it does manage to achieve its ultimate goal of conveying a woman’s traumatic breakdown.” Horror Cult Films
“Agony doesn’t fall into the trap a lot of independent films do, managing to avoid relying on jump scares and building up a decent mood and a curious narrative that, in the tradition of Italian films, doesn’t make much sense but is enjoyable. The flair of the visuals is what keeps the interest and is where the movie succeeds.” Starburst
Cast and characters (alphabetical):
Asia Argento … Isidora
Jonathan Caouette … Michael
Salerno Claudia … Jordan
Nick Daly … Lawrence Fraiberg
Ninetto Davoli … Rudolfo
Giulia Di Quilio … Carlotta
Monica Guerritore … Angelica
Molly Jane McCarthy … Jordan (voice)
Franco Nero … Carlo
Rade Serbedzija … Arthur
Simone Wasserman … Sofia
Ronciglione, Viterbo, Lazio, Italy
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1