In Timothy Vandenberg’s Agatha, a little orphan girl named Sophie (played by Louise Ogle) is hired by a woman (Penny Kohut) to bring food onto a table for someone living upstairs. Nice gig for a kid, right? Well, you would most certainly be wrong. Sophie is sternly instructed that she may only place the food on the table, never walk past the table, and to never speak or “wander about.” There is great emphasis on never walking past the table. Great emphasis.
When those are your instructions, you know there’s something awry. Still, because Sophie needs the money, she keeps coming back time after time. She goes into the old house, up the stairs and into the presence of an unsettling character named Agatha (Jessica Farmer). The process becomes almost mechanical. A plate of meat is placed on the table, some coins are put into Sophie’s hand. More meat, more coins. Meat, coins, meat, coins. At the same time, we get to see more of Agatha — enough to seriously wonder what her deal is. Yeah, there’s definitely something a little off about her. In fact, maybe she’s upstairs all the time for a reason, and not just because she ain’t feeling the best.
This creepy horror film is short and sweet, with convincing acting, awesome makeup effects, and perfect costume choices for the time period. There is, of course, a little bit of social commentarry going on. Had Sophie not been a poor orphan child, she probably wouldn’t need to do degrading odd jobs for money (with an emphasis on “odd” in this case). That she is a child only emphasizes the point.
And so, the next time you head to work and think, “Man, this place really sucks,” go ahead and think of poor little Sophie bringing plates of meat to a creepy upstairs resident. Maybe pushing that mop, flipping that burger or vegetating in some cubicle isn’t so bad anymore. Or, maybe this movie will just make your job seem worse. Either way, I can hear Bob Dylan’s vocal: “Ain’t gonna’ put meat on Aggie’s plate no more…”