Fantasia 2021 Capsule Review: Agnes

Director Mickey Reece (Climate of the Hunter, T-Rex) returns to Fantasia International Film Festival for the second year in a row with his new film, Agnes. In this film, co-written by Reece and John Selvidge (Climate of the Hunter, T-Rex), a convent is thrust into chaos when a young nun named Agnes appears to be possessed. A priest on the outs with the church and a young man who has yet to take his vows are sent to investigate the possession. From there, the focus of the film shifts to Mary, another young nun who is Agnes’ friend.

Much of the film has Reece’s distinct, 70’s-inspired style and incorporates a lot of gorgeous religious iconography. Yet Agnes takes care to subvert possession tropes of that time. The plot almost ends up feeling like two films in one. At first, it is what the audience expects with a possession in a convent. But then it morphs into more of a character study focusing on loss and grief as a form of inner demon. Horror fans coming in expecting a more traditional demon/exorcism story might be disappointed, but I appreciate the fresh take on an often-tread subgenre. Agnes is filled with great performances from a few familiar faces including Molly C. Quinn (Castle, Hansel & Gretel Get Baked), Sean Gunn (The Belko Experiment, Guardians of the Galaxy), Rachel True (The Craft, Sharknado: Heart of Sharkness), and Ben Hall (Climate of the Hunter, Arrows of Outrageous Fortune).

Agnes exorcises the inner demon of loss in a way that is powerful and, at times, humorous.

OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10

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