Director Darren Lynn Bousman's St. Agatha is not subtle one single bit, and that is absolutely the film's selling point. The plot is yet another variation on the "young woman seeks shelter and aid in her hour of need and is exploited in the process" story, but this time there are evil nuns, plot-revealing flashbacks, and a rogue's gallery of misfit characters all broken in one way or another by life's inequities.
Discussing this movie without revealing the delightful series of absurdities which unfold onscreen is difficult, but suffice it to say the ways in which the film plays with the supernatural or mysterious possibilities of the setting, before swerving in aggressively ridiculous plot twists, makes St. Agatha an unceasingly entertaining viewing experience.
While director Bousman deserves all the plaudits in the world for being willing to go to the lengths he does in terms of story and presentation, while still managing to keep the film's obviously low budget from showing, an equal portion is due to St. Agatha's actresses. So many films of this style and ilk fail simply because the acting isn't up to snuff. In the case of St. Agatha's cast, everyone is quite capable, with Mother Superior Carolyn Hennesy an absolute standout, courtesy of her stiff yet terrifying head nun.
Special effects are minimal, but effective. Rather than going for an unending cavalcade of gore, St. Agatha relies more on tension and disorientation, using the rare scenes of blood as red-stained capstones to an already unpleasant experience. Rarely does a movie inspire this many loud exclamations of “OH MY GOD.”
Bousman's movie is shock after shock, alternating between messily violent and absurdly hysterical, with a relentlessly obvious score which manages to copy both The Omen's intense Latin chanting and Suspiria's wordless la-la-las. While the viewer might not be surprised by one single plot point, St. Agatha is perfectly entertaining.
ST. AGATHA / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: DARREN LYNN BOUSMAN / SCREENPLAY: ANDY DEMETRIO, SHAUN FLETCHER / STARRING: SABRINA KERN, CAROLYN HENNESY, COURTNEY HALVERSON / RELEASE DATE: 8TH FEBRUARY