Review: ST. AGATHA Is Surprisingly Shocking Horror

FIRST IMPRESSION

St. Agatha is not what you would expect, offering both surprisingly disturbing imagery and a legitimately intriguing mystery.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

St. Agatha is a new horror film from director Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, Repo! The Genetic Opera). It is about a pregnant young woman in 1950’s small town Georgia who, seeking escape, takes refuge in a convent where she hopes to have her child in peace and safety. She soon discovers that there is something more sinister going on behind the scenes.

The story of the film is very intriguing. At first glance, it seems like the film is going to be a rip-off of The Nun and other similar supernatural films, but that is far from the case. Instead, this is much more unique — a psychological thriller with an intriguing mystery at its core. Although the end result is somewhat expected, the ride sure is a lot of fun.

The film’s biggest weakness is its character development. Over the course of the film, the protagonist does come to be likable, but there could have been a bit more development early on so that the audience could more easily rally behind her. The supporting characters aren’t as well-developed. That being said, there is some sympathy for them because of the situation in which they find themselves.

st. agatha stairs
Carolyn Hennesy as Mother Superior in the horror film ͞ST. AGATHA͟ an Uncork’d Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment.

The film also became a bit heavy-handed at times. There are political undertones throughout the entire film, but (for the most part) those aren’t cumbersome. In fact, those add another layer of intrigue to the film. However, there are a few scenes in which the film does go over-the-top and feel like it is bashing that messaging over your head.

The filmmakers also did an excellent job of creating something that is truly disturbing. This film isn’t overly reliant on jump scares or gore, instead using the audience’s mind to create suspense and fear. There are a few particularly bloody moments, like one involving a bear trap, but those are brief and used for maximum impact.

st. agatha tongue
(L-R) Marsha Fee Berger as Sister Susan, Sabrina Kern as Mary Carolyn Hennesy and Hannah Fierman as Sarah in the horror film ͞ST. AGATHA͟ an Uncork’d Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment.

The actors all do a solid job in their roles, especially for a film of this genre. The biggest standout is Carolyn Hennesy, who plays the film’s primary antagonist. Sure, she’s hammy and over-the-top, but this works in a film that is like that as a whole. In fact, her performance is likely a significant part of what made the film so enjoyable.

In technical terms, the film is also rather impressive. The cinematography and production design both do a solid job of periodizing the film. Of course, there isn’t the same level of immersion as there would be with a major studio production, but it gets the job done. The practical effects are also very strong, with the relatively light but impactful amounts of gore looking really good.

Overall, St. Agatha was a surprisingly fun film. It isn’t what you would expect, and there are some surprisingly disturbing moments throughout. Horror hounds will want to check this one out.

St. Agatha is in theaters and on VOD beginning February 8.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Notes From The Field: Full Film | HBO

In this adaptation of the Off-Broadway show, playwright Anna Deavere Smith dramatizes the accounts of students, parents, teachers and administrators affected by America’s school-to-prison pipeline, which pushes underprivileged, minority youth out of the classroom and into incarceration. #HBO #HBOFilms Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Tony and Pulitzer Prize nominee Anna Deavere Smith brings her…

Tech Waste, Adhesive and Drug Problems | Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas | Season 1 Episode 8

Wyatt Cenac explores why our phones keep breaking down, the orgins of a common stationery item, and how some city police departments are moving beyond the war on drugs. #HBO #ProblemAreas #WyattCenac Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas is also available to stream on HBO via HBO Max. Wyatt Cenac’s Problem…

Never Have I Ever in Other Languages | Dub Swap | Netflix

Hear your favorite Never Have I Ever characters' dialogue get “dub swapped” with various official Netflix foreign language dubs from around the world. If you think trying to communicate with a wild coyote is impossible, imagine it in French! Let us know your favorite dubbed Never Have I Ever character in the comments, and we’d…

I Know This Much Is True: Imogen Poots in Character – Joy Hanks | HBO

“She’s quite a tragic figure.” Imogen Poots discusses the circumstances that make Joy Hanks who she is...but why she isn't without hope. #HBO #IKnowThisMuchIsTrueHBO #IKTMIT Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Based on the 1998 bestselling novel by Wally Lamb, adapted and directed by Derek Cianfrance, this limited series follows the parallel lives of identical…

Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood: The Golden Age Reimagined | A Movie Within a Series | Netflix

Go behind-the-scenes to explore how HOLLYWOOD brought the industry-changing movie "Meg" to life in the limited series through a sandbox of looks, styles and processes for the actors and artisans. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 183 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries…

Space Force | Episode 1 Review | Netflix

Ashley reviews the first episode of Netflix's new series, Space Force. A decorated pilot with dreams of running the Air Force, four-star general Mark R. Naird (Steve Carell) is thrown for a loop when he finds himself tapped to lead the newly formed sixth branch of the US Armed Forces: Space Force. #SpaceForce | #Netflix…

Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood: The Golden Age Reimagined | The Golden Age of Hollywood | Netflix

To bring 1940s Hollywood to life, the cast and crew detail how every aspect from the costume design, makeup and hairstyling reveal the character of this glamorous golden age that serves as the anchor in the limited series. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 183 million paid memberships…

Labor Problems | Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas | Season 2 Episode 1

Wyatt examines why workers at major fast-food chains aren’t unionized, contemplates the perfect pair of shoes to wear to a protest, and travels to West Virginia to learn about teachers’ strikes. #HBO #ProblemAreas #WyattCenac Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas is also available to stream on HBO via HBO Max. Wyatt…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here