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Agatha Movie Review

Written by Stephen McClurg

agatha poster large

Written and directed by Kelly Bigelow Becerra and Roland Becerra
2022, 60 minutes, Not Rated
Screened at Film Maudit 2.0 on January 13th, 2023

Starring:
Emily Joyce-Dial as Agatha
Ryan Whiting as The Professor
Nathan Lewis as Man Back There
Lauren Mascali as Hunter Twins
Erin McDonough as Hunter 01

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Review:

Agatha is a non-linear revenge tale that crosses centuries while inhabiting both a suburban apocalyptic setting and a colonial landscape. The main storyline follows The Professor as he seeks out a witch to cure a malignant health condition.

With animation unlike any I’ve seen, excerpts of Agatha would find good company on Liquid TV or Night Flight for those who remember those shows. Perhaps a variety of techniques were used in conjunction: rotoscoping, 3D animation, and stop-motion. The visuals, though initially difficult to comprehend as cartoony or nightmarish, are rich, gorgeous, and uncanny. Largely credited to two people, Kelly Bigelow Becerra and Roland Becerra, the film had to have been a massive amount of work. I’m dumbstruck that they pulled this off at such a high level.

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Maybe it’s festival fatigue, but unfortunately, the movie doesn’t work at the story level. I appreciate the non-linear approach, but I had a hard time understanding much about the actions of the characters. Their interactions don’t make sense. I only know the main character is “The Professor” because of the end credits. He seems like a nosy journalist. The scant dialogue is muffled, incongruous with the brilliant images. Because Agatha’s atmosphere is so unique and strange, I felt I needed some kind of grounding in the world or in the narrative timeline. The setting has suburban elements along with traditional apocalyptic details that are difficult to reconcile. Is it meant to be a commentary on behavior during the pandemic? These aspects of the illogical became a distraction. Without a grounding in the setting or timeline, the film becomes taxing to follow, though strange and gorgeous to look at, especially the elements of Lovecraftian folk horror.

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Agatha demands a lot from a viewer if one is to break the spell of the imagery. I will likely give it another viewing. Regardless of where I stand on the storytelling of this movie, I am eager to see the next offering from the team who made it.

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Grades:

Movie: 3 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Stephen McClurg
Staff Writer
No matter how hard he tries to focus on music, Stephen always gets called back to horror culture. The inciting incident is likely the night his grandmother cackled through his wide-eyed and white-knuckled first viewing of Jaws at three. The ‘70s were a different time. Over the years, he has mostly published poetry and essays, but started writing with a review section for the Halloween edition of the sixth-grade school newspaper. He rated titles like Creepshow with a short description and illustrated pumpkins. His teacher loved it, but the principal shredded the final version before distribution since all the movies were rated R.
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