St Agatha (2019) Movie Review
Written By: FR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writers: Andy Demetrio, Shaun Fletcher
Producers: Kimberly Bedrin, Philip Bedrin, Andy Demetrio, Shaun Fletcher, et. al.
Date Released: February 10, 2019
Sabrina Kern as Mary / Agatha
Carolyn Hennesy as Mother Superior
Courtney Halverson as Catherine
Lindsay Seim as Doris
Hannah Fierman as Sarah
Trin Miller as Paula
Seth Michaels as Father Andrew
Justin Miles as Jimmy
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
In the 1950’s, unwed and pregnant, Mary (Sabrina Kern) finds herself on the doorstep of the Sisters of Divinity convent. Here, she is welcomed by Mother Superior (Carolyn Hennesy) and her assistant, Paula (Trin Miller) . She is quickly informed that inside the walls of the convent she must leave behind her former life and its possessions, take a vow of silence, adhere to a strict schedule, and cater to the whims of Mother. Despite the fact that the Vatican has closed its endless coffers to the convent, it continues to operate.
With her mind frequently wandering to her boyfriend Jimmy (Justin Miles) , the father of her unborn baby, Mary is finding it difficult to acclimate to life with the Sisters of Divinity. Oft consumed by memories of her alcoholic, abusive father (Jayson Warner Smith) and little brother William (Maximus Murrah), she is struggling with her past as well as her future. When it becomes apparent that life at the convent is not simply prayers and rosary beads, Mary must summon her courage if she hopes to save her unborn child.
This is not the typical horror movie where there’s a lot of blood and guts on the screen. The movie tried to instill fear by setting the conditions of the characters and the setting of the convent. It has provided the atmosphere of helplessness and the despair of the young women. There was the scene where the tongue of one of the girls was cut. Then there is the dreaded coffin used as a punishment for warry transients. They live in terror of Mother Superior. Scary things are seen through slats in the wall, underneath doors. When the girls “misbehave”, Mother Superior’s punishment is vicious. One girl is made to eat her own vomit. The girls are all drugged. Some of them disappear from the dormitory at night, never to be seen again.
The Grave Review
St. Agatha (2019) is scary and disturbing because of the antagonists – that being of a nun. The movie established the mood on the look and feel of the claustrophobic “convent in the film—launches “St. Agatha” into a weird psychological and physical torment.
St. Agatha (2019) is slow-paced at first, with flashbacks showing Mary’s life before which includes scene after scene of Mother Superior’s torture techniques. The repetition gives the film a deadened quality. But in the second half, when Mary devised a plan to break out, the film got into a big start and the terror, torture and desperation builds its own crazy momentum.
The film rarely leaves the house, production utilized every space to its fullest capacity. The camera floats through the rooms, swooping in fluid motions around corners, up the stairs, circling back down and around. The lighting design is specific and controlled. There’s a basement room where red light screams through slates in the walls, like Hell’s fires blazing outside.
On the positive, the cast are all solid in their roles, with Kern doing a good job in her leading role as pregnant Mary. She easily relates the confusion and struggle of her initially conflicted character, and ultimately embodies the gall necessary to fight back against the powers that be. However, it is Hennesy, as the Mother Superior, who steals the entire show. Perfectly sinister in the most alluring sense, her voice is like black silk as she entices her young victims into her mad web. Hennesy is bold, establishing her twisted Mother Superior as one of the best in an already over-saturated field. Simply put, her seductive performance alone makes St. Agatha worth viewing.
Despite these some flaws, St Agatha (2019) somehow manages to be entertaining and watchable. While not scary or even creepy, Hennesy’s Mother Superior is brazen enough to make an impression. In short, with clear visual appeal, solid acting and several cringe-inducing scenes, St. Agatha is able to tread water.
Because of the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives St Agatha (2019) three graves out of five graves.
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