While The Pope’s Exorcist has been out for a few months now, it recently hit Netflix and this was my chance to see the film. It did well at the box office, bringing in over $76 million on an $18 million budget. But as it goes with much horror, the critics didn’t seem to like this one with a poor showing from Rotton Tomatoes of 47%. So, while I wanted to see The Pope’s Exorcist, I wasn’t in a rush. But now I have seen it and it is currently ranked 6th on my 2023 horror films list…of 10. It’s been a slow year with not many getting me excited. Evil Dead Rise and Scream VI being the standouts for me, how would The Pope’s Exorcist fair?
Father Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist for the Vatican, battles Satan and innocent-possessing demons. A detailed portrait of a priest who performed more than 100,000 exorcisms in his lifetime.
Russell Crowe leads this movie and with most horror films we get kind of a “cold opening” to set everything up. Crow plays Father Amorth an Italian priest and Exorcist. He tricks a demonic entity out of a man who is suffering at the hands of this demon to transferring it into a pig, which is an animal sacrifice. So, that is a little different.
The film then cuts to a family who us uprooted from America to an abbey in Spain, which I found super odd. They’re down with money and yet are renovating a huge abbey in Spain…Sure, I guess it’s part of the “true events”. They recently lost the father of the family and the young boy has gone silent. He gets possessed and shit begins to happen. It becomes a paint by numbers Possession film from that point. Nothing really new brought to the table until near the end of the movie.
What I found odd, the priests were not around the possessed kid very often, leaving him to torture the mother and sister for long periods of time. He was searching the abbey for clues and hanging out in a Crypt. Father Amorth suffers from PSTD of failing a girl whom was thought to be possessed, but really struggled with mental health. The second priest, a Spanish priest named Father Esquibel played by Daniel Zovatto was also tortured by his sins, and we see a woman he lusts after.
So, what sets this apart?
Not much, it’s more of a horror/action movie by the end that seems to have an open ending for a sequel, which based on the box office, I bet we get. But, Russell Crowe was excellent and honestly, he was great at being Italian. Speaking the language and his accent was on point.
The end of the movie was very cgi and reminded me of a superhero movie more so than a horror film. Two men of God fighting a demonic presence for the good of all mankind. Could he any superhero movie.
The family was very blah. Poor development keeps you from caring about what happens or the outcome. As far as the Possession went, that is the meat and potatoes of a movie like this…very text book. It doesn’t offer anything new and made for a more generic Possession film.
I will say, Crowe carries this movie and makes it passable. I guess in a way, I liked The Pope’s Exorcist. Most of the religious stuff was good and there are some historical things that grabbed me as well. It’s not much on horror overall, but it’s a decent mixing of a couple if genres. Some generic possession movie stuff, but as I said, Crowe is terrific. I’d like to see more.
I give The Pope’s Exorcist a 63% THS Slash Score. It’s on Netflix, check it out, it clocks in at 1 hour and 43 minutes, but 6 minutes of credits, so you can spare the time.
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