Every year, I seem to follow some sort of trend with my selection. This year it feels that every film I watch is never what I seem. This one I expected a straight out horror film but it does have a rather unexpected tone shift. How well executed it is, I’ll let you know as we delve into the details, but I’m still making sense of the whole thing. This is the same director than last year’s Climate of the Hunter but don’t expect any similarities.
Agnes (2021) was directed by Mickey Reece who co-wrote the screenplay with John Selvidge. Father Donaghue (Ben Hall) and young initiate Benjamin (Jake Horowitz) are called to a Carmelite convent to deal with a case of demonic possession. The affected nun, Agnes (Hayley McFarland), seems to be the real thing. Watching from the sidelines is her close friend Mary (Molly C. Quinn). She’s the one to watch later on.
This one might become a bit divisive with audiences and critics alike. I did expected a rather straight horror premise, but what we end up getting is a case of possession which is not necessarily the focus of the movie. Actually, the film moves out of focusing on our priestly duo to Mary’s journey. The change of focus also comes with a change of tone. The horror element is actually defused for the human element. The relationship of believers with the source of their faith seems to be more of the central theme, specially regarding people joining religious institutions such as the clergy.
Not recommended. It’s hard not to mind the shifting tone and abandoning the initial premise to be resolved off camera. Lovers of horror will find themselves betrayed halfway through the film. There’s some exploration of faith later on that might be easily missed. The tone shift really locks specific audiences out of this one, so the only hope is you find Mary a compelling enough character to be invested in following along. I feel that including some earlier elements of what’s coming later would have worked more towards setting the proper tone. That being said, it might find its own niche with a very specific audience that would appreciate it.
That will do for now.