Horror Club: St. Agatha
With the success of The Nun just a few months ago, there seems to be a revived love for spooky nuns. From Halloween costumes to nun fetishes, there's certainly no lack of nun material out there as of late. What better time is it then now to release St. Agatha - a new film based around crazy nuns and the devilish stuff they do. Mixing religion and horror usually makes for some pretty great content, so naturally St. Agatha was one flick I had to check out as soon as I could, and boy, does this film fucking deliver. St. Agatha will grab your attention and not let go until the very last second - it's packed with insanity that will leave you grossed out, cringing in pain and afraid to ever step foot into a church again. It's a pretty quick descent into chaos as the film unfolds and limits are pushed, and that alone makes it worth both your time and money.
St. Agatha - directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (of Saw II, III and IV) - follows the story of a beautiful, young pregnant mother-to-be named Mary (played by Sabrina Kern) as she turns to a convent in her time of need to ask for assistance in bringing her baby into the world. The convent is filled with other mothers-to-be as well as nuns who work alongside the intimidating Mother Superior (played by Carolyn Hennesy) as her staff. Upon her arrival to the home, Mary is told that if she was to stay at the home, she would have to give up all of her worldly possessions and conform to the strict routine and housework that the other guests must follow, including manual labor (mind you, they're just about ready to give birth). It doesn't take long for Mary to soon experience that hiding behind the Catholic front is a demon in human flesh, willing to commit horrifying acts at her will. Mary essentially becomes imprisoned in her new home, and the nuns all seem to be after just one single thing: those that live within their mothers womb. And the nuns are willing to do whatever they have to do to get them.
Part of the reason St. Agatha works so well - and we've written about this in the past on Soulless - is the realness factor that this movie has. There's nothing supernatural or out of this world - as the story unfolds, everything that's happening is completely legitimate and totally able to actually occur in our world. Combine sketchy nuns and some pretty wicked torture sequences and St. Agatha was destined for greatness from the get-go. The film almost exclusively takes place inside of or around the outside of the convent, and by the end of the movie you can almost feel the claustrophobic feeling that Mary must be feeling from being locked inside the falling apart building. The excellent setting and camera work really sets the tone and mood for the grim world that the mothers-to-be are all locked into. Going back to the torture aspect of the film, though - although Bousman worked on three of the Saw films, don't expect St. Agatha to be a blood soaked, torture flick. While there is plenty of torture effects to the movie, there's just the right amount of it; it's not over-the-top torture porn but it's also not a snooze fest when it comes to the money shots. There's more than enough to keep you on the edge of your seat anticipating the next scene, believe me.
Honestly, though - pretty much every aspect of this movie nailed it on the head for me, even down to the score. There's this bizarre, unsettling tune that comes and goes throughout the film that takes the scene's tone from a 10 and brings it up to 11. An absolutely brilliant move placed at just the right time that really brings the scenes together. Mix that in with the fucking madwoman that Mother Superior turns out to be and you're in for a treat. As the truth about Mother Superior's work comes out, as well as her insane methods of behavior control, it won't take long for you to either grow to hate this woman or love her for how batshit insane she is. Every scene she's in pretty much turns into terror as she becomes more and more relentless to her guests that she claims to love so much. Kern's portrayal of Mary (or Agatha, if you will) only enhances the film as she begins her part of the story at a pretty mentally stable point, and by the end she's an absolute wreck. Kern is a strong lead woman and does a fine job at getting the audience to root for her and cheer her on as she attempts her escape.
To sum this one up, it's a must-see film if you're looking for something new to watch. It definitely gives The Nun a run for its money and tells an incredible, twisted tale that - like I said - will grab a hold of you from the get-go until the very end. There's really nothing not to like about St. Agatha; if you like crazy nuns that even the Catholic church turned its back to, you'll love this film. As the story unravels, you'll quickly put together the pieces as to what's going on and just how fucked up this convent - and all of its members - truly are. This is a special film that definitely blew me away more than I expected it to, and that's why it's worth both your time and money to rent. Check this one out immediately, and maybe stay as far away from a convent as possible.
Check out the trailer for St. Agatha below, available now on video on demand services now!