Wednesday, September 4, 2019

St. Agatha (2018)

Movie Name/Year: St. Agatha (2018)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Length: 103 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Dragon Blood Holdings, St. Agatha, The Outside Writers, Uncork'd Entertainment, Netflix
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writers: Andy Demetrio, Shaun Fletcher, Sara Sometti Michaels, Clint Sears
Actors: Sabrina Kern, Carolyn Hennesy, Courtney Halverson, Trin Miller, Seth Michaels, Hannah Fierman, Lindsay Seim, Shaun Fletcher

Blurb from IMDb: In the 1950s in small-town Georgia, a pregnant young woman named Agatha seeks refuge in a convent.

Cat’s Point of View:
At first blush, St. Agatha reminded me somewhat of the convent season of American Horror Story (2011- ). That soon passed, however, and gave way to a more visceral brand of horror – the sort you think could possibly happen.

I was raised Catholic and attended parochial school for most of my life. When I was really little, the elementary school I attended was primarily staffed by nuns. This was also back in the day where corporal punishment was still a thing. The fear of the paddle was very real. Of course, most of them were really nice and when I got sent to the principal’s office for talking too much we had lovely chats. Every batch of apples does tend to have a bad one now and again, though. I do remember one sister that struck fear into the hearts of every student because she was just that strict. I imagine that a fever dream of one such as her on a power trip could end up something like this movie.

The narrative felt like it was bringing some sort of urban legend to life. While I can’t recall any that specifically revolve around convent practices in this film’s particular era, it isn’t a giant leap of imagination to picture this sort of scenario as the deep-seated fear of any young girl pregnant out of wedlock and faced with the possibility of being sent away to such a place for the duration.

This movie gave a whole different spin on the concept of feeling hopelessly trapped by your own decisions. 2018 seems to be the year that concept was popular since Unsane (2018) explored a similar theme with a more modern take. I think St. Agatha could have given it a run for its money, though, had it been similarly promoted.

When watching this film, keep in mind that it was directed by Darren Lynn Bausman (The Devil's Carnival, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Abattoir) – the storyteller behind three of the Saw (2004) franchise movies. There’s some fairly disgusting body horror here. I’ll admit that some of it had me gagging. That being said, I liked the fact that the insidious nature of events in this movie was driven by mundane means rather than supernatural. That aspect sets this film apart from most that deal with horror and the clergy.

All told, St. Agatha was fairly successful at keeping me on the edge of my seat. I wouldn’t have any problem recommending it. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 61%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 42%
Metascore – 63/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.8/10
IMDB Score – 5.2/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5

Trust the Dice Parental Advisory Rating –  R

Movie Trailer:

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