After making the rounds at the Tribeca Film Festival this past June and receiving rave reviews, Agnes is getting a theatrical and on demand release this winter.
The horror film follows one nun's suspicious behavior that leads to rumors of a potential possession. While nuns and horror are a familiar pairing, critics are saying Agnes provides "unpredictability" and "idiosyncratic salvation" from the typical tropes.
Molly Quinn Talks Subverting Expectations in Horror
The tagline for Agnes tells audiences to "face your demons" and overcome obstacles, but it also applies to those behind the camera as well.
Star and executive producer Molly Quinn revealed to The Direct's Liam Crowley that the "challenge" of Agnes is what drew her to the project.
"I read the script and was really shocked by it. It didn't follow any type of normal formula. As a producer, I was really excited about that. We want to do genre. We really love horror, but are looking for things in horror that are slightly different. It's a challenge and it's a challenge that we're up for. You don't always get to read material that makes you scratch your head, and that's what Agnes did."
On screen, Quinn plays Sister Mary, a nun who has as much fear as audiences watching in the theater.
"As an actor, it was almost like a soul bond on the page with Mary. I really connected with her fear. She's a chicken! She's running from her past, and I connected to that from my own past (laughs)."
From the "nuns, convent, [and] possession," Agnes sounds like a typical horror movie on the surface; however, Quinn noted that those familiar beats were developers by design to subvert expectations.
"We wanted to lull the audience into this sense of false security with this very type of normal horror set-up. Nuns, convent, possession. It's like the warm blanket of horror. You know what you're going to get. Then, halfway into the movie, we just wreck the vehicle and take you in a completely different direction."
Quinn's Executive Producing Debut
Behind the camera, Quinn worked numerous sleepless nights as an executive producer on Agnes. While she had previous producing experience, this was the actress's first run with executive responsibilities.
Despite the new role, Quinn said she felt right at home as an EP.
"It was overwhelming the entire time that it also felt natural. I think when you're producing indie films it's all hands on deck. You are really doing everything. Luckily, I have my two amazing partners, so we were able to share the load of our producing duties, which really helped when I had to be in front of the camera."
Even if executive producing overwhelmed Quinn at times, she added that it put her in the exact mindset that her character needed on screen.
"I think the chaos of that helped me on screen. Because it was constantly working with everyone and wanting all of the pieces of the movie to be unique but also fit together, and I think Mary is going through that same thing of interacting with these big people and not having time to rest. I guess I'm trying to justify my lack of sleep and total exhaustion from making the film (laughs)."
While Quinn remains an actress at heart, she has no plans to stop producing anytime soon. In 2022 alone she will produce two more films, including Adam Christian Clark's Marzipan and Teresa Sutherland's Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Quinn points to women like Castle producer Laurie Zaks who have inspired her to not just try producing, but make it a regular aspect of her career.
"I came to LA with my heart set on acting, and my heart will always be in acting, but just like with a lot of people, when you're young you're laser-focused. You think about one aspect of the thing you want to do. If you're lucky enough to start doing it, you meet all these other people in the process. I didn't know what a producer was when I started acting, but then I met producers. I met female producers that were just bad b-tches. They were in charge of the entire thing! They really inspired and nurtured me to do it myself, which I really appreciate, especially now."
Agnes releases in theaters and VOD on Friday, December 10.