St. Agatha is a horror movie in the nunsploitation niche genre. Carolyn Hennesy is absolutely brilliant as Mother Superior. Even though this Darren Lynn Bousman movie didn’t do much for me, she’s the reason to watch it!

St. Agatha is a horror movie by Darren Lynn Bousman. The movie is in the nunsploitation niche genre and has Carolyn Hennesy as Mother Superior. This is pretty much all you need to know because she is the reason you should watch this.

For me, the story was pretty boring and one-dimensional. Sure, I get that this is part of making movies in the “exploitation”-subgenre, but still. When the story is small, the characters and their interactions should be enough to keep me interested.

This was the case for St. Agatha as far as I was concerned. In fact, I didn’t root for the main protagonist but rather wanted Mother Superior to get away with everything she wanted. 

The campiness of St. Agatha

For me, the basic problem of St. Agatha is the fact that it wants to be a nunsploitation movie, but too much of the story doesn’t support this. You absolutely have to go the super campy route for that particular element to work.

As I experienced this movie, too many of the actors were playing their characters as if this was more of a horror drama. I’m not blaming the actors, because it’s the job of the director to get the performances they need for their vision.

You can’t have your campy exploitation subgenre and eat the horror drama cake too. When you do this – which St. Agatha certainly suffers from – then your campiness just looks like bad writing and/or bad acting. Which isn’t fair to anyone involved with this project.

St. Agatha (2018) Review Horror

Do not miss Carolyn Hennesy

With St. Agatha, Carolyn Hennesy is the only one who truly embraces the campiness of nunsploitation.

She is operating at 110% soap opera acting-volume and it is perfect. In fact, she manages to do what Gina Gershon did in Showgirls. Carolyn Hennesy sees this for what it is and goes all out which is exactly what Gina Gershon did with her Showgirls character.

The result in both cases is the fact that this one character per movie stands out as memorable as an iconic representant for this movie itself. I absolutely loved it and could easily watch another nunsploitation movie by Darren Lynn Bousman if it focused on Carolyn Hennesy’s Mother Superior!

You may know Hennesy from HBO’s True Blood or the TV series Revenge, which was basically a primetime soap drama. Also, she’s the voice of General Leia Organa in Lego Star Wars. So yes, she is all kinds of cool!

Personally, I didn’t care for the sort-of title character, who is originally named “Mary” (because yes, of course, she is). This meant I wasn’t really interested in her story or struggles. She’s portrayed by Sabrina Kern, who does what she’s supposed to, but the story around her character was lacking. To put it mildly.

Clearly directed by Saw alumni, Darren Lynn Bousman

St. Agatha was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who also directed several of the movies in the Saw franchise. This is somewhat obvious when watching this nunsploitation movie which does involve various kinds of torture.

The screenplay was written by Andy Demetrio, Shaun Fletcher, Sara Sometti Michaels, and Clint Sears. Honestly, whenever I see that many writers onboard, I immediately begin to understand why the story isn’t working too well.

Most of these writers have worked primarily on short films or TV shows, which certainly isn’t bad, but it’s not ideal for a feature film either. I have no idea who came up with the story originally and who is attached for re-writes, but the result as it stands now just isn’t great. And simply calling this a “nunsploitation” doesn’t allow for a bad story!

But again, do watch this creepy little mess of a nunsploitation movie with torture, horror, and campiness for the one person delivering on all three things: Carolyn Hennesy!

St. Agatha is out in theaters and On Demand / Digital HD from February 8, 2019.

Details

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Stars: Sabrina Kern, Carolyn Hennesy, Courtney Halverson, Trin Miller, Lindsay Seim, Hannah Fierman, Jayson Warner Smith

Plot

It’s the 1950s in small town Georgia, a pregnant con woman on the run seeks refuge in a convent hidden in deafening isolation. What first starts out as the perfect place to have a child turns into a dark layer where silence is forced, ghastly secrets are masked, and every bit of will power Agatha has is tested. She soon learns the sick and twisted truth of the convent and the Odd people that lurk inside its halls. Agatha must now find a way to discover the unyielding strength needed to escape and save her baby before she’s caged behind these walls forever.

Karina

Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina

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St. Agatha (2018)
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