We begin in 1956, 83 years after families from the Church of Ireland found a home for themselves in North America. The pious villagers live in poverty, save for Agatha Earnshaw (Catherine Walker), the one prosperous landowner of the lot. (Is that Agatha’s signature scrawled across the bottom of a devil’s pact?) Since birth, she has kept her bewitching 17-year-old daughter Audrey (Jessica Reynolds) a secret, fearing the male predator who might one day make off with her. Through the cracks of the wooden box used to transport the young woman, Audrey spies an altercation between mom and one of the community’s more hostile menfolk. Realizing just how weak Agatha is when it comes to safeguarding the nest egg, telepathic temptress Audrey kicks out the crummy slats out of her crate and emerges as The Daughter Who Would Not Take It Anymore. For his second feature, writer-director Thomas Robert Lee emphasizes style over gore; the more left to the viewer’s mind, the better. The production design and cast of relatively unfamiliar faces provide the atmospheric immediacy needed to juice the tension. But while the setup is sublime, the open-ended resolution comes as a bit of a head scratcher; don’t expect an explicative ribbon to braid the loose ends. If none of the above-mentioned makes sense, think Bad Boy Bubby meets Cries and Whispers, with more coughed-up blood than a caboodle of Doc Holiday’s used handkerchiefs. (2020) — Scott Marks
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