As a study in the struggles of mental health, the nature of parenthood and the tragedy of bereavement I loved Anguish
From the producers of The Strangers comes an unnerving psychological thriller inspired by true events. When Tess (Ryan Simpkins) is diagnosed with a personality disorder, she suspects she is possessed by the spirit of a dead girl. With powerful performances, a skin-crawling atmosphere, and jump-out-of-your-seat scares, Anguish promises to be one of the year’s most terrifying and emotionally affecting thrillers.
Ryan Simpkins (A Single Man, Revolutionary Road)
Annika Marks (The Sessions, Mona Lisa Smile)
Karina Logue (Argo, Zodiac, When A Stranger Calls)
Ryan O’Nan (The Iceman, Eat Pray Love, The Frozen Ground)
Sonny Mallhi (producer of The Stranger, The House at the End of the Street)
Sixteen-year-old Tess (Ryan Simpkins) has suffered a pained past. She’s been diagnosed with an assortment of mental ailments since her mother discovered her at a young age gruesomely banging her head against a wall. Now Tess’s new medication seems to be working as she and her mother move to a new town seeking a fresh start.
But as Tess adjusts to her new life, horrific visions begin appearing of a deceased local girl, Lucy, recently killed in a grisly car accident. Hallucinations and physical manifestations intensify as Lucy’s haunted spirit inhabits Tess’s mind, body and soul.
Doctors, sedatives, and priests (suspecting possession from beyond the grave) fail to help, leading Tess to be institutionalized after attempting to take her own life. While she is under observation, a local priest fears that it is Lucy attempting to return by taking control of the troubled Tess, and suggests exorcism as the only way to drive the dead girl out and bring peace to both of these tortured young souls…
We like it because:
As a veteran producer of successful films that include The Strangers and The House at the End of the Street, first-time director Sonni Mallhi knows how to spook an audience. With Anguish he’s created a powerful psychological thriller that continues in the eerie footsteps of It Follows and The Babadook.
Beautifully shot and paced, there’s a spine-tingling creepiness that resonates throughout the whole film. And though its shades of The Exorcist will appeal to horror fans, Anguish has an emotional depth that makes it as much about the plight of the characters as the scares – drawing an ambiguous, unsettling connection between personality disorder and supernatural possession.
There’s also a career-defining performance from Ryan Simpkins, who proves she’s one of Hollywood’s fastest rising stars as the troubled Tess, plus great supporting performances from co-stars Annika Marks and Ryan O’Nan, whose unsetting touches help make this a thriller that won’t be easy to forget!