Shudder’s Latest Horror Is A Diabolical Dismantling Of A Woman’s Spirit


  • The Devil’s Bath, set in 1750 Austria, follows a deeply religious woman, Agnes, whose dreams of happiness are shattered by societal expectations. Her descent into despair and misguided faith leads to a dark and disturbing climax.
  • Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala explore the limits of the human spirit and the dangers of limiting a person to chores and obligations.
  • Anja Plaschg’s exceptional performance anchors the film, showcasing Agnes’ emotional decline.

Writer-directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are no strangers to crafting disturbing films that remain in the audience’s psyche. The Goodnight Mommy and The Lodge duo brings us a new Shudder horror film that draws from history, but its resonance is undeniable. Unsettling atmosphere, grim imagery, and a frightening story are now the norm for the dynamic pair, and

The Devil’s Bath (2024)

is a truly intense experience.

The Devil’s Bath is set in 1750 Austria and follows Agnes (Anja Plaschg), a deeply religious woman inspired by Eva Lizlfellnerin, an Upper Austrian woman who committed a horrible crime. Agnes has an endearing love for nature, plants, and insects, but her environment does not nurture the pursuit of happiness. She marries her love and thinks life begins anew, but societal expectations shatter her dreams of a family and happiness. What happens after hopelessness settles in sends Agnes down a dark path and action that does not exist in a vacuum.

The Devil’s Bath Latest Is A Stunning Portrayal Of Despair And Misguided Faith

The film weaves a compelling tale of the limits of the human spirit. The Devil’s Bath is the exact opposite of a hopeful story. It’s a cautionary tale of the dangers of limiting a human to chores and obligations. Agnes exhibits a kind heart and cares for her environment, but she cannot feel fulfilled or pursue true happiness. So she snaps. It’s a long, grueling road to the climax Agnes orchestrates for herself, but I felt empathy and satisfaction seeing Agnes make the decision for herself and see it through. Terrible as the decision is, she finds some peace in it.

The Devil’s Bath makes us feel every emotion and haunts us long after the story concludes.

The buildup is the film’s best aspect; the writing is so careful not to have us outright hate everyone. Instead, we, like Agnes, find ourselves silently pleading for change but recognizing that she and everyone else don’t know how to stray from this rigid path. The story is layered and informative, building the anxiety to unmanageable levels. Franz and Fiala showcase great patience, with every scene weaving its complex story with compelling imagery. The film doesn’t rest on jump scares or overly grotesque visuals.

The directors put us in Agnes’ shoes, pulling us deeper into her despair, which can feel methodical and calculated by her community and God. The sheer disappointment of never having her prayers answered is palpable, but her commitment to her faith, as aggravating as it may be, is admirable.

Anja Plaschg’s Performances Leaves A Palpable Impression

The film draws parallels to Robert Egger’s The Witch with how this particular era, dominated by misunderstood and malicious religious compliance, damned women. The Devil’s Bath taps into the domestic life of women, stifled and belittled to such an extent that the mind turns into a fragile ticking time bomb. Seeking answers in prayer because no answers exist in the community garners little response and expedites mental decline.

Franz and Fiala showcase great patience, with every scene weaving its complex story with compelling imagery.

The Devil’s Bath’s loaded story requires an actress with exceptional skills, and Anja Plaschg delivers. The musician-turned-actress is a wonder to behold as she portrays Agnes’s sharp decline. Her circumstances — an unloving husband, a harsh mother-in-law, an unforgiving community, and the pain of infertility — swiftly alter the hopeful beginning, which sees Agnes expressing warmth and kindness.

Plaschg rises to the challenge of showcasing how diabolical the dismantling of Agnes’ spirit is by her family, community and faith. Agnes is not a bad person, but she does a bad thing, and it is through Plaschg’s brave performance that we find ourselves being equally empathetic and horrified.

The Devil’s Bath Is An Expertly Crafted Horror

The Devil’s Bath is bleak but well worth the watch, especially if you like being guided down Franz and Fiala’s dark, twisted rabbit hole. Horror is a genre designed to challenge and disturb its audience, and the directors got the memo. The story stemming from reality adds to the stressful and unsettling atmosphere, and I was fully engrossed from the opening sequence to the bitter end.

The film benefits from the accurate replication of 18th-century Austria, the costuming, and informed cinematography. Martin Gschlacht’s shots balance the natural beauty of the space while allowing the darkness of the story to seep in and then engulf every scene. Plaschg not only anchors the film with a stunning performance but also lends her gifts to the score, which is influenced by her portrayal, creating a seamless connection.

Shudder is the ideal platform for the film, and whether seen in theaters or on streaming, The Devil’s Bath makes us feel every emotion and haunts us long after the story concludes.

The Devil’s Bath is now playing in limited theaters and is available to stream on Shudder. The film is not yet rated.

The Devil's Bath_movie_poster

In 1750 Austria, a deeply religious woman named Agnes has just married her beloved, but her mind and heart soon grow heavy as her life becomes a long list of chores and expectations. Day after day, she is increasingly trapped in a murky and lonely path leading to evil thoughts, until the possibility of committing a shocking act of violence seems like the only way out of her inner prison.


  • Anja Plaschg delivers a stunning, layered performance
  • The Devil’s Bath is haunting and has a thrilling buildup
  • The story is unsettling and smartly draws from actual histroy
  • The film’s production design and costuming is impressive

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