Recently I popped along to Cineworld for the Unlimited Screening of the new movie from Sony Pictures UK, THE POPE’S EXORCIST, which stars Russell Crowe as a character based on Gabriele Amorth who had been reported to have performed over 50,000 exorcisms.
Inspired by the actual files of Father Gabriele Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican (Academy Award®-winner Russell Crowe), The Pope’s Exorcist follows Amorth as he investigates a young boy’s terrifying possession and ends up uncovering a centuries-old conspiracy the Vatican has desperately tried to keep hidden.
Now I have to say that I went into seeing The Pope’s Exorcist not really knowing too much about the movie, yes I had seen the trailer several times and this gave me an idea of the story and what I may expect from this 15-rated horror that is directed by Julius Avery (Overlord, Jerrycan).
Russell Crowe brings some humour to his role as the titular characters and this certainly helps to reduce the tension that you get to feel from certain scenes throughout the movie, the horror aspect of the movie did seem a little tame to me but the special effects work well to bring the story to life on the big screen.
As the mother (Alex Essoe), a son (Peter DeSouza-Feighoney) and a daughter (Laurel Marsden) movie into the abandoned abbey, things certainly aren’t what they first seem, something evil is dwelling beneath and after an incident with the workmen, things start to a turn for the worse when Henry (DeSouza-Feighone) is taken over by a demon that really wants to unleash hell on earth.
The demon confronts Father Esquibel (Daniel Zovatto) through the boy and tells him to “get the other Priest”, meaning Amorth (Crowe). Now it’s a battle of good vs evil as Amorth tries to save the child’s soul and help the family escape from the terrifying hold that the demon has on the family.
I was hoping that The Pope’s Exorcist would be up there with The Exorcist a movie that terrified me when I first saw it in the cinema and even to this day still sends chills down my spine, but sadly I was a little disappointed in the horror aspect of the movie.
There do seem to be a few moments of “we’ve seen that before” scenes in the movie, such as floating bodies, heads almost being rotated around and of course the different voice from the mouth of a child, but with a movie based on an Exorcist it’s inevitable that those will be part of the production.
I enjoyed the cast selection and in particular Crowe with his one-liners and some rather lovely shot scenes of him riding a Vespa to locations, a nice touch that gave the character a nice touch to show his simplicity in what he does.
The Pope’s Exorcist, for me anyway, is more of a thriller than a horror. There really weren’t any parts of the film that made me jump or even made the hairs on the back of my neck rise which is a shame, but I’m sure that there are some people out there, who don’t cope with scary things very well, that will find some of the scenes a little jumpy, but sadly I’m not one of them.
The movie does ramp it up a bit towards the end of the movie and the final battle, now that did look and sound impressive on the big screen, I wasn’t expecting it to go that way and that was fun to watch.
The movie also ends in a way that could possibly take us on some more exorcisms with Father Gabriel Amorth and with all his recorded encounters there are sure to be a couple of sequels depending on how well The Pope’s Exorcist performs at the Box Office.
I was hoping for a few little shocks and was disappointed by their lack. But I have to say that I was delighted to see Franco Nero in the role of The Pope and it’s always great to see him on the screen.
THE POPE’S EXORCIST is directed by Julius Avery (Overlord, Son of a Gun) and stars Russell Crowe, Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essoe and Franco Nero and is currently in UK Cinemas now.