A daughter travels to Rome to meet her mother who has been held in custody by the Vatican after murdering three people during an exorcism twenty years previous. Discovering the Vatican has no interest in helping or even acknowledging the possibility of demonic possession, the daughter takes it upon herself (and the help of her camera man and three priests) to save her mother.
Sigh… Where to begin?
There’s a lot to be said about a modern horror film in the first ten seconds, if it has a disclaimer, ie: “based on a true story”. But in this film’s case we have: “The Vatican does not endorse this film”.
This only gets worse as the film continues as our characters cite some of the most cliche and most ignorant “facts” about demonology as if it were classified fact. This reminds me of wincing at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s End of Days‘ supposed gospel (but at least that had the self-awareness as an Arnie film)
If you want to make a found footage film appear genuine and real, you have to make it credible. Our “student priests” (I’d like to call them that) take classes in the Vatican about demon possession, the Vatican hold dangerous exorcism victims in privately owned wards yet… the Vatican do not accept the existence of demon possession? They even release the mother, despite an outburst, with no safeguards for other people’s well being?
Some of the dialogue is downright idiotic, from some classic “dumb camera man” syndrome (seriously what happens to men who hold cameras in these films?) to just some aggravatingly thoughtless dialogue. While possessed, the mother talks about things she couldn’t possibly know to her daughter… then later the daughter is horrified when a different possessed woman knows her name. Surely that wouldn’t be so surprising?
It isn’t even that scary, it even fails at jump scares (a big dog randomly jumps at a fence as they walk down a random street, seriously?) I didn’t think that was possible. The only credibility this film has is some decent body horror with the exorcisms. There are some alarming contortions going on which did impress. Though… I’m sure all exorcism films do this well.
It does nothing to hold your attention. The characters are bland, the story and setup is farcical and if anything it makes the mythology for real exorcisms even more laughably unlikely. There are so many better exorcism films out there, you have no reason to see this one.