Over the past decade or so, Oklahoma filmmaker Mickey Reece has developed a distinctly offbeat aesthetic, a talented stable of loyal collaborators, and a cult of movie fans.
Better yet, the Oklahoma City-based author has developed the weird ability to make us guess every time he releases a movie. In an age when stereotypical movie making is all too common, you never really know what to expect from a Mickey Reece movie – and bless him for it.
The Newcastle native offers plenty of interesting twists – as well as a surprisingly sensitive character study of a young woman struggling with trauma and a memorable scene of sandwiching philosophizing – in his new film, “Agnes.”
A convent show that upsets many weary tropes of horror films of demonic possession and exorcism, “Agnes” premieres online this month as part of the 20th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. It will have its international premiere at the 25th Fantasia Fest, a favorite genre festival in Canada that runs virtually from August 5 to 25.
In between, “Agnes” will screen Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Rodeo Cinema as part of OKC’s 21st annual deadCenter film festival, which runs through Sunday mostly online at https://www.deadcenterfilm.org .
Shot in central Oklahoma in early 2020 – before the COVID-19 pandemic – “Agnes” is considered by Reece to be the spiritual sequel to her previous horror films “Strike, Dear Mistress, and Cure His Heart” and “Climate of the Hunter. “All three have a similar and peculiarly Mickey Reece vibe with weirdly sharp dialogue, jarring music and intriguing Gothic visuals.
Written by Oklahomans John Selvidge and Reece, the suspenseful story takes place in an isolated convent where a small group of nuns live quietly regimented lives until a younger sister named Agnes (Hayley McFarland) suddenly flies away. in a disturbing and rude fit at dinner. .
Her bizarre behavior sparks rumors of demonic possession and is particularly troubling to her friend, confidante, and young nun, Mary (Molly C. Quinn). To the alarm of the inflexible Mother Superior (Mary Buss), the diocese sends Benjamin, a well-meaning priest-in-training (Jake Horowitz), and his disgraced and jaded mentor, Frank (Ben Hall), to investigate and intervene, with frightening and shocking results.
Just when it looks like Reece is going to take the creepy but well-worn path of most possession films, “Agnes” takes a left turn to become the intimate portray of a young woman struggling to cope with heartache. , relentless trauma and loneliness.
In addition to Quinn’s captivating turn, “Agnes” features strong performances from supporting players Sean Gunn, Chris Browning and Rachel True.
It also represents another strangely empowering film in Reece’s ever growing and increasingly acclaimed list of local films.
– Brandy McDonnell, The Oklahoman