When the newbie nun Agnes (Hayley McFarland) flips out at dinner one night, calling all the other nuns "whores," and seemingly making the crockery move around the table with her mind, the sisterhood is understandably freaked out and confused. They are Carmelite nuns, living in seclusion in a gloomy convent called Santa Theresa, where they have no contact with the outside world. They are completely unprepared to deal with Agnes' psychotic break, so they do what all nuns do in movies like this: they tie Agnes to a bed, where she thrashes around, literally foaming at the mouth. They pray over her. Mother Superior (Mary Buss) is an intense figure, with a pinched face and hysterical eyes, and she calls the Vatican to send help pronto. Mary (Molly C. Quinn), another young nun, looks on with horror at her friend's transformation. These scenes make up the opening sequence of Mickey Reece's effective—and unexpected—exorcism drama, where the exorcism is not the Main Event, but Prologue. It's all well and good to expel the demon from your soul. But where do you go from there? What next?
Seen in intriguing flashback, Agnes and Mary, wimples placed loosely on their heads (Vatican II somehow hasn't reached this particular convent), smoke cigarettes and laugh raucously. Whatever their devotion to the church, the real world is still close to them (although perhaps they became nuns as an escape from harsh realities). Meanwhile, Father Donaghue (Ben Hall) and Father Ben (Jake Horowitz), a young deacon about to graduate from the seminary, are sent to handle the situation. Hall plays Donaghue as a roguish secular rake, who takes the Lord's name in vain and is also in disgrace for, it is rumored, "inappropriate" behavior with altar boys. True to form, the Church has not ousted him, but sent him from parish to parish on fool's errands like this one. Donaghue refers to exorcism as "one of the most elaborate song and dance acts the world has ever seen," a clue to his profane attitude. At first the exorcism seems to have worked, and Agnes emerges from her delirium. The respite doesn't last long, and things go way south. Father Donaghue makes a desperate call to a glamorous famous priest, Father Black (Chris Browning), also in disgrace with Rome, but a favorite on the talk show circuit. Father Black has a gorgeous babe on his arm, and sports a little Errol Flynn mustache, fake tan, and a gleaming eggplant-colored suit. Father Black is totally absurd (Browning's performance is very entertaining.)
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