Cast: Sabrina Kern, Carolyn Hennesy, Courtney Halverson, Lindsay Seim
Written by: Andy Demetrio, Shaun Fletcher, Sara Sometti Michaels, Clint Sears
Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Running Time: 1hr 43m
Reviewed by: Philip Wade
Mary/Agatha (Sabrina Kern), plays a pregnant unmarried girl in Georgia near the end of the 50’s. There is a sense of confusion and horror at the predicament she finds herself in, but also there is some strength and resolve that doesn’t feel out of place with the character as written. The only criticism I have of the role is that despite being from Georgia, she doesn’t have either a strong twang or cadence expected from a Georgian. Sometimes it feels like there is an attempt, but most times there seems to be no accent.
Carolynn Hennesy’s Mother Superior is self-assured, smarmy and vicious. A bit reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter, she can move from sympathetic and supporting figure to a nasty demon in a flash. Maybe not as cultured, but savage. Mother Superior also seems to be missing a twang, but it’s easier to accept if she had studied at a convent, but I would not expect the same of the girls in her charge.
None of the girls seem to be from the south. A lot of the male actors and extras seem to be southern born or affecting some semblance of southern accents. Despite this fact, everybody in the movie are spot on acting wise. This movie does not suffer from the usual overacting or stilted movement that usually accompanies lower budget horror and thrillers.
Darren Lynn Bousman’s professional directing experience brings a lot to the table. His most commercial work being the first three SAW sequels, the movie has an oppressive vibe which is unsettling, but at the same time feels extremely natural. Sometimes with horror or thriller movies, the characters seem to float in their environments. Like they don’t belong and are just acting on a stage. Not so in St. Agatha, every character and setting feels natural and fitting.
There is some horrific moments in St. Agatha that will be torture for the squeamish and some gore for horror fans, but its use is minimal.
Having said all that, this movie isn’t without its flaws. The first being the already mentioned lack of accents. The second being an anachronism which crops up several times. I don’t want to discuss it, but it pulled me out of the movie a bit, so I am going to. A couple of times characters are seen either counting or laying down money. The problem is two-fold. First the bills were post 90’s bills. The large portraits and numbering on the bills is a giveaway and even with the flash on screen it was obviously newer bills. Second and probably bothers only hyper observant people pulled out by the bills, the amounts of money seemed to be disproportionate too. In the late 50’s $200 dollars was equivalent to today’s dollars to be about $18,000. People generally don’t carry or leave those amounts laying around without a good purpose.
The last issue is probably one of the few flaws in either the direction or writing. It is brought up several times that the girls are under a strict vow of silence…The girls talk to the Mother Superior, the other nuns, each other, the donors, law enforcement. Just about everyone. A couple of the nuns don’t talk, they seem to be the only ones who’ve taken a vow of silence. The vow seems like a contrivance.
Finally, the soundtrack was a little jarring and ridiculous in places. It goes for a religious gothic operatic discordant vibe, but it sounds like something you might find in a 90’s PlayStation horror title. The rest of the soundtrack was fine.
Considering the flaws listed, I still give this movie a solid 4/5. St. Agatha is a film with some intense nail-biting moments that will leave you on the edge of your seat. ST. AGATHA in theaters and On Demand / Digital HD