Fantastic Fest 2021 review: ‘Agnes’

According to his IMDB bio, filmmaker Mickey Reece has made 25 feature films over the past decade, which is a remarkable feat. Even more remarkable is that somehow I have never seen any of them and am only familiar with one of the titles (Hunter’s Climate, his previous endeavor), even though he has had history with Fantastic Fest. So my introduction to his work (described by a friend as “Like Neil Breen if he had talent”) was his last entry on FF, Agnes, which is said to be his most ambitious film yet.

The main character (played by Hayley McFarland from The spell) is a young nun who has apparently been possessed by a demon (or the devil himself?), prompting the church to send Father Donaghue (Ben Hall, a Reece regular from what I understand) to investigate and possibly perform an exorcism, since he had some experience with them. They assign a young priest named Benjamin (Jake Horowitz) to accompany him, and we quickly see the difference between the two men: Donaghue is clearly burned out and disillusioned with the path he has chosen, and takes it upon himself to emphasize how much life there is. he denies himself by becoming a priest, a lesson that falls on the ears of the very devoted and committed Benjamin.

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