The Pope’s Exorcist 2023 Movie Review
Director: Julius Avery
Based on: An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories; by Gabriele Amorth
Cast: Russell Crowe, Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essoe, and Franco Nero
Cinematography: Khalid Mohtaseb
Music: Jed Kurzel
Father Gabriele Amorth, the 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.
The Pope’s Exorcist 2023 Movie Review:
A boy is possessed by a powerful demon when the family shifts into their newly inherited mansion, built over hallowed ground. It is up to the chief exorcist of the Vatican to save this family while uncovering the dark secret behind this demon and that mansion.
Based on the experiences of a real-life exorcist, The Pope’s Exorcist tries to be this decade’s new Conjuring but it doesn’t have enough meat in it to be one. The story is pretty basic and so are the scares but what it lacks is properly establishing the characters.
It begins so haphazardly, I for one couldn’t care less for the family moving into the new mansion. Sure, there was a personal loss involved, a rebellious teenager and a traumatized boy. Even a mother who can fight back a demon to get back her kids safely.
But those initial scenes fail to create any concern for the family. It does however show promise with the mystery behind the demon as the priests try to figure out its name and uncover a dirty Vatican secret.
The film somehow revived itself in the second act but the all too generic third act ensured The Pope’s Exorcist was nothing more than an ordinary watch. Russell Crowe gave his best to carry the film forward but even he can do only so much with a screenplay that doesn’t try to raise above the routine stuff.
The good parts of the movie are the characterization of Father Gabriele Amorth and the conversations with the Pope. The theological debate piqued my interest, as did the council questioning Amorth’s methods, but it was all too brief. The scenes within the underground chamber had promise, but then it went all Hollywood, and “the power of Christ compels you” for the ending.
The Pope’s Exorcist is said to be inspired by true events, but director Julius Avery’s interpretation of this genre falls far short of the films that came before this (think Exorcist).
The film tries to make us believe in a story that is just not well written. The movie is a basic horror film that tries to shroud itself in the world of exorcism and that is its biggest drawback.
The film does touch upon some sensitive issues like sexual abuse in churches but doesn’t bother to delve into the subject We need to see something different with possession movies. The film is presented reasonably enough but it just doesn’t scare me, or make me want to see it again.
The Pope’s Exorcist is a tediously competent mess. Any film with “exorcist” in the title is effectively still cashing in on the almighty 1973 original — and The Pope’s Exorcist is not even bothering to pretend otherwise. The film is still a reeking pile of tacky and revisionist nonsense.
Hope Evil Dead Rise (2023) will fill scary for us. Releasing on April 21st in theaters, already the reviews are great – Metacritic 71%.