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Agnes – Fantasia 2021

agnes

Agnes – Fantasia 2021

Synopsis:
Rumors of demonic possession at a religious convent prompts a church investigation into the strange goings-on among its nuns. A disaffected priest and his neophyte are confronted with temptation, bloodshed and a crisis of faith.

A priest is called in to investigate an apparent demonic possession at a convent in . Father Donaghue () is a disaffected priest, who is called upon to perform the rite of exorcism on Sister Agnes () of the Santa Teresa convent. Father Donaghue travels to the convent with his neophyte Benjamin () and the two along with Anges' friend Sister Mary () find their faith tested in different ways by this exorcism and its aftermath.

Agnes is a deconstruction of the typical exorcism from director and co-writer (Climate of the Hunter). The film kicks off with Father Donaghue, a priest on the verge of being sent away following accusations of pedophilia, assigned to travel to the Santa Teresa convent and investigate a supposed demonic possession. Despite not truly believing in the rite of exorcism, Father Donaghue travels to the convent with his student Benjamin, expecting the possessed Agnes “just needs a priest to say the magic words.” However, this turns out to be not exactly in the case, and in the aftermath of the exorcism, the focus switches to Sister Mary, who leaves the convent and strikes up a connection with comedian Paul Satchimo ().

In a similar fashion to how it's hard to call Mickey Reece's previous film Climate of the Hunter a vampire film, I would be hard-pressed to call Agnes an exorcism film. It's even a stretch to call this a horror film, even though there are many horrific moments within the film. Agnes can be better described as a reflection on faith, with each of the three central protagonists having their own faith tested in one way or another, with Sister Mary, in particular, having a truly tragic backstory. There are some elements of the film that don't quite work, but overall Agnes is still a solid deconstruction of the demonic possession subgenre.

Agnes is streaming as part of the virtual 2021 Fantasia Film Festival


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.