We love Halloween here at The DreamCage and we love the countdown to it even more as, every day in October, David Ames opens a window (well, writes an article) in his Hallow-vent Calendar of horror films. His choice for Day 2 of Hallow-vent is St Agatha...
It is that time once again, faithful readers, for us to don our proverbial witch’s hats and climb upon this digital broomstick as we progress into the fourth year of our annual Hallow-vent calendar. In the past we have covered an amalgam of different genres and types of horror: vampires, slashers, originals and remakes. This year, however, I wanted to make a list that was accessible to the masses out there in our shared digital world. This year, I turn to Netflix for my source of inspiration and horror for October. Here we will be tackling all 31 films, with a mix of Netflix original films, and other streamable options. Also, thrown randomly into the mix this year will be a few anime movies/series (sadly the only non-streamable options) that are also based in the horror genre. I am also going to approach the reviews a bit differently this year. I will list all of the pertinent information in the beginning, and avoid too much plot summary, instead focusing just on the positives and negatives. Strap in, crank up the surround sound, throw every ounce of candy corn you have into the trash, and enjoy this year’s Netflix-based Hallow-vent Calendar.
Find the rest of David's Hallow-vent 2019 articles on the Calendar as they are published.
Title: St. Agatha (2018)
Producers: Dragon Blood Holdings and The Outside Writers
Distributor: Uncork’d Entertainment
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Cast: Sabrina Kern, Carolyn Hennesy, Courtney Halverson
Today’s film is one that I had heard a lot about. The reviews for it were pretty decent and, although it obviously had a very low budget, everything I have seen from it looked beautiful. I was immediately drawn to this film. It isn’t a Netflix original, but it did show up on my screen [it's on Amazon Prime in the UK - Ed], and so today I chose St. Agatha.
This film follows Mary (Sabrina Kern) as she leaves her old life behind and joins a Convent for wayward girls, run by Mother Superior (Carolyn Hennesy), a nun. It is set in the 1950s and Mary ,who is now pregnant, has decided on a new plan for her life.
Throughout the film, we are given numerous flashbacks which show us just how Mary came to be in her current state. She has an abusive alcoholic father and, in a moment of distraction, her little brother, the only thing in the world she really cares about, slips, hits his head, and drowns in a tub full of water. She feels constant guilt for this, as she was having sex with her boyfriend when it happened.
Fast forward to Mary’s arrival at the home. She is greeted warmly by the nuns, Mother Superior, and the other girls, but is immediately taken aback by the strictness of the environment. They are not supposed to talk, and they have chores they must complete every day. As the film progresses, Mary begins to discover that the convent is not at all what it seems, and the nuns are sadistic torture-artists who steal the children from these women and sell them for profit to couples who can’t have children themselves.
As much as it seems like I have given away a lot of the film, sadly all this is easily discoverable about 15 minutes into the movie. To be frank, it isn’t great. There are some solid moments of fright and both Kern and Hennesy are serviceable, if not good, in their roles. The writing is really where this film drops off the deep end. The dialogue is rough at best and the premise seems so poorly thought out that it feels as though they were just stumbling through the creation of the movie.
On the bright side, the music is VERY good. It perfectly sets the mood and there is a haunting piano theme that permeates most of the scenes in the film. It is one of the saving graces, along with the cinematography which actually looks really good.
What this film does well is some surprisingly disturbing body horror including self-mutilation, force-feeding (in the style of a momma bird), and eating vomit (although thank God, all we have to do is hear the last one). This movie isn’t great—I am going to be honest. What I will say is that the few things it does well are done REALLY well. The music alone is reason enough to check it out and Hennesy’s performance as the morally bankrupt nun is wonderful.
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Find St Agatha on Amazon Prime
Image - IMDb