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World Premiere
  • USA
  • 2015
  • 91 mins
  • DCP
  • English
Hosted by Writer/Director Sonny Mallhi

“I want people to look beyond their comfort zone” – ANGUISH Writer/Director Sonny Malhi

Anguish from eric lavoie on Vimeo.

Sixteen-year-old Tess (an astoundingly powerful Ryan Simpkins) may be young in age, but she’s already had several lifetimes worth of psychological distress, beginning randomly when she was found banging her head into a wall at the age of five. Through the years, her mother has tried everything, every specialist, every alternative treatment, to bring her into balance. The closest thing to a proper diagnosis that doctors have been able to assign to her mental condition is an identity disorder, and in a sense, that’s not incorrect. Tess’s identity is horrifically disordered — because it’s being encroached upon by spirits of the dead.

The directorial debut of writer/director Sonny Mallhi, producer of such singular horror works as THE STRANGERS and AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR, ANGUISH is an emotionally resonant — and blood-chillingly eerie — supernatural exploration of both coming-of-age narratives and the desperate grasping at straws that lead many in crisis onto paths towards belief systems. In ways it can be seen as an AUDREY ROSE for today’s age, albeit with a supremely intensified scare factor and a more profound yearning for spiritual understanding, but it’s something much more unique and ambitious than even that may make it sound, replete with fascinating interpersonal conundrums amidst the ascending horror. Carrying it all is an extraordinary performance from Ryan Simpkins, a young actress who first broke out in Jennifer Lynch’s underrated classic SURVEILLANCE and has more recently been seen in A SINGLE MAN, among others. Frightening and psychologically provocative, ANGUISH offers supernatural explanations to debilitating adolescent mental illness while delivering physical horror set pieces that will rattle all comers.

— Mitch Davis