It’s a day of the week of a month, there’s a good 40 % chance of seeing a new exorcism movie in theathers, and this horror subgenre is very overdone, so you gotta have some mildly “fresh” twist or idea outside of “demons or paranormal entities possessing children and throwing priests at walls”.
This one has Russel Crowe playing real life Vatican head exorcist Gabriel Amorth, (whose deeds were also featured in the 2017 biopic by William Fredkin, The Devil And Father Amorth), a younger father Amorth as it’s set in the late 1980s and sees him confronting a demon possessing a young boy living in an abandoned abbey in Spain, but with a plan that involves specifically getting father Amorth to confront him, a scheme that will lead the priest to discover a secular conspiracy….
Russel Crowe is great as a more “hip”, maverick-y and humorous father Amort, which is already scores the movie a good point in its favour, as we have a possession movie that plays it straight but also has a sense of humour, showing some wit and awareness of how exorcisms are often perceived by the non-clergy sections of the populace.
The other “twist” is one of the more shameless things i’ve seen written as a part of an exorcism movie, and one it’s hard to discuss without spoiling it, but let’s just say it’s no surprising this revelation hits in a movie that allegedly was partially funded by catholic companies.
Most of the movie throws around the usual exorcism repertoire, but direction it’s solid enough, the characters aren’t that great but Russel Crowe’s performance alone carries the movie, and there’s definitely a lot of spectacle, gore and graphic imagery (though some of the effects could be better), making for a decent, fairly entertaining flick.