When the beginner nun Agnes (Hayley McFarland) flips out at dinner one night time, calling all the opposite nuns “whores,” and seemingly making the crockery transfer across the desk along with her thoughts, the sisterhood is understandably freaked out and confused. They’re Carmelite nuns, residing in seclusion in a depressing convent referred to as Santa Theresa, the place they don’t have any contact with the surface world. They’re fully unprepared to cope with Agnes’ psychotic break so that they do what all nuns do in films like this: they tie Agnes to a mattress, the place she thrashes around, actually foaming on the mouth. They pray over her. Mom Superior (Mary Buss) is intensely determined, with a pinched face and hysterical eyes, and she or he calls the Vatican to ship assist pronto. Mary (Molly C. Quinn), one other younger nun, seems to be on with horror at her good friend’s transformation. These scenes make up the opening sequence of Mickey Reece’s efficient—and sudden—exorcism drama, the place the exorcism just isn’t the Principal Occasion, however Prologue. It is all proper and good to expel the demon out of your soul. However, the place do you go from there? What subsequent?
Seen in intriguing flashback, Agnes and Mary, wimples positioned loosely on their heads (Vatican II one way or the other hasn’t reached this explicit convent), smoke cigarettes and giggle raucously. No matter their devotion to the church, the true world remains to be near them (though maybe they turned nuns as an escape from harsh realities). In the meantime, Father Donaghue (Ben Hall) and Father Ben (Jake Horowitz), a younger deacon about to graduate from the seminary, are despatched to deal with the state of affairs. Corridor performs Donaghue as a roguish secular rake, who takes the Lord’s identity in useless and can be in shame for, it’s rumored, “inappropriate” habits with altar boys. True to kind, the Church has not ousted him, however, despatched him from parish to parish on idiot’s errands like this one. Donaghue refers to exorcism as “one of the elaborate tune and dance acts the world has ever seen,” a clue to his profane angle. At first, the exorcism appears to have labored, and Agnes emerges from her delirium. The respite does not final lengthy, and issues go manner south. Father Donaghue makes a determined name to a glamorous well-known priest, Father Black (Chris Browning), additionally in shame with Rome, however a favorite on the speak present circuit. Father Black has a beautiful babe on his arm, and sports activities a little bit Errol Flynn mustache, pretend tan, and a gleaming eggplant-colored go well with. Father Black is completely absurd (Browning’s efficiency could be very entertaining.)
Without warning, the movie leaps into the long run. Molly has left the convent, and works at a grocery retailer, struggling to stave off her leering boss’ advances. Her world is darkish, scary, and fraught with threats. Haunted by Agnes, Molly seeks out the person Agnes as soon as beloved, a small-time standup comic named Paul (Sean Gunn). Molly’s motives are unclear. She doesn’t disclose to Paul her connection to Agnes. Paul simply thinks she’s a fantastic blonde who exhibits curiosity in his dangerous jokes.
“Agnes” is a horror movie (type of), with a few gory scenes, and the ambiance is darkish and bleak. Even the diner the place Father Donaghue faculties Ben on what’s to return is lit like a depressing morgue, all chilly greens, and black shadows. Cinematographer Samuel Calvin is to be counseled for his putting work, and Reece exhibits an intuitive understanding of when to maneuver the digicam, and—extra importantly—when to not transfer the digicam. It is all very elegantly put collectively.
Molly C. Quinn, who additionally government produced, is a trembling pressure of nature as Mary, and her dissociation and trauma are registered in her physique’s actions, the virtually frozen look in her eyes, the feelings at all times on the verge of spilling out. She seems to be holy, harmless, however, Molly has clearly been via the wringer. Her life has not been simple. She is a practiced survivor. There are occasions the place it’s important to remind yourself concerning the Exorcism Prologue. It exists solely as a dream-like reminiscence, and Agnes herself haunts the movie. The women bonded within the convent, discovering freedom throughout the cloister, freedom from all of the threats, all of the nastiness and violence, “on the market.” It is nearly as if when Agnes vanishes from the movie, so, too, does hope and/or friendship and intimacy. Reece co-wrote the script with John Selvidge, and it is an attention-grabbing piece of labor.
Exorcism was just the start. No matter possessed Agnes (both psychological sickness, PTSD, or a precise demon), she was ruined by it, and Mary, years later, has but to get well from the occasion. It isn’t Satan and his minions which can be the issue. The issues persist. The issue is the world itself. Nothing can survive there.