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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Review: Agnes

Director: Mickey Reece

Screenplay: Mickey Reece and John Selvidge

Year: 2021

The subject of possessions in convents has become an extremely popular one. Although it is not a new topic in horror cinema, its growing popularity can be attributed to the success of recent films and series such as "The Nun" and "American Horror Story: Asylum", to which should be added countless independent and low-budget films which have tried to take advantage of the recent popularity of the subject. Adding to this rising wave is “Agnes,” the latest horror film on the subject of possessions in nuns, and a strong argument for why the topic should be given a break.

After the young nun Agnes begins to exhibit a behavior that leaves no doubt that a demonic force possesses her, it is decided to exorcise her. A father with a questionable past and his promising young disciple are called upon for this work. In the convent, everyone will be confronted with temptation and situations that will test their faith.

What the heck is this movie? This was my reaction when I finished watching “Agnes”, only with a tone between annoyed and frustrated and slightly more profane words. But before talking about the end, I must start at the beginning and work out what caused such frustration. The film’s first half is quite promising, although it already shows some problems in the acting and especially in the script, with flawed dialogue and unrealistic situations.

In the first half of the film, we begin by seeing Sister Agnes (Hayley McFarland; "The Conjuring") and her sudden change in demeanor, leading to the entrance of Father Donaghue (Ben Hall; "Killers of the Flower Moon") and his disciple Benjamin (Jake Horowitz, "The Vast of Night"), the former who is an alcoholic and seems to have had some sexual incident in his past. The development of the theme so far looks good and keeps the viewer interested in what is going to happen. However, the story in the script of Mickey Reece and John Selvidge (“Climate of the Hunter”), the former who also directs, takes an unexpected turn, and we leave the convent to follow Mary, one of the nuns who lived there during the event.

In this second part of the film, we see how Mary tries to integrate into society after living a long time in the convent and the problems she has to achieve it. One improvement that comes with this change is that Molly C. Quinn's ("Doctor Sleep") performance as Mary is far superior to the rest of the cast. For the rest, this twist takes the movie from being a promising one to a downright boring one in which you are waiting for something to happen until suddenly the movie ends and you feel confused and deceived, since the second half does not save a logical progression to conclude what is worked on in the first part.

"Agnes" is the latest disappointment in horror movies when it comes to demonic possessions. Its first half is entertaining, more for what it promises than for what it offers, but an incomprehensible twist in its narrative denies us a conclusion that lives up to what is provided in the first half. Instead, it gives us a slow and boring story that is confusing and frustrating.

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