Who doesn’t love a good exorcism? This is one of those horror subgenres that always seems to persist, attracting audiences with the promise of twisting heads, contorting bodies, rattling bones, and the occasional bile explosion. Grotesque imagery and body horror mesh oddly well with the supernatural chill of unexplainable forces. While the result is too often weak, derivative or filled to the brim with uninteresting jump scares, it’s hard not to reflect on the exorcism horror movies that work and hope for the best. Will “The Pope’s Exorcist” measure up?
In terms of interesting subject matter, this movie is more than covered. The trailer introduces a creepy young boy possessed by the devil, who takes a special interest in Amorth, forcing him to consider a horrifying possibility: What happens if the exorcist himself becomes the next target of possession? And this is just one of the threads that the film will tug on, as it’s also interested in highlighting some revelations about the Catholic Church itself. There’s a conspiracy afoot, and a possibility that the church knows more about these possessions than they dare to say.
“The Pope’s Exorcist” is directed by “Overlord” and “Samaritan” filmmaker Julius Avery with a screenplay penned by Michael Petroni and Evan Spiliotopoulos. Along with Crowe, the film stars Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essoe, and Franco Nero. Unsurprisingly, it is rated R thanks to all the usual suspects: violent content, language, sexual references, and some nudity.
“The Pope’s Exorcist” debuts in theaters on April 14, 2023.
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.