“Stick to the script,” says Father Donaghue (Ben Hall), holding up the Holy Bible perfectly in frame, as if a product placement. Mickey Reece’s newest horror, Agnes, focuses on the Catholic Church’s investigation into a suspected demonic possession of a nun named Agnes (Hayley McFarland), as well as the journey of one of her friends, a fellow nun named Mary (Molly C. Quinn).

Agnes may be categorised as a horror film as well as a drama, but it immediately presents the audience with a cheeky comedic tone that takes the forefront. This is achieved through visual gags, the actors’ dry, sarcastic delivery of their lines, using overly extravagant set designs to suggest a gaudy nature of the Catholic Church, and camera techniques such as dramatic zooms and sudden cuts. It’s a refreshing take on things as Reece pokes fun at the usual tropes employed in religious horror films, not taking anything too seriously as Father Donaghue rolls his eyes at the idea of having to perform an exorcism.

But Agnes almost splits itself into two different films, branching off with a shift in tone and pacing towards the middle, attempting to tackle more serious issues like the questioning of one’s faith. Unfortunately, this is where everything falls a little short. While it shines in its ability to find laughter amongst the terror, the more emotional moments feel forced rather than earned because there are only the briefest of attempts at character exploration. 

The two main parts of Agnes are both interesting, but are stitched together in a way that ends up feeling scattered, and neither have the chance to reach their full potential before the very sudden ending. Despite its flaws, this is an ambitious film that should be applauded for its uniqueness.



CAST: Chris Browning, Mary Buss, Sean Gunn, Ben Hall, Zandy Hartig, Jake Horowitz, Hayley McFarland, Molly C. Quinn, Chris Sullivan, Rachel True

DIRECTOR: Mickey Reece

WRITERS: John Selvidge, Mickey Reece

SYNOPSIS: Rumours of demonic possession at a convent prompts an investigation into the strange happenings among its nuns.