This film is pretty good, but for one thing.
|This woman is not in the film.|
Firstly, I have to say that the nun on the cover, the poster, and all of the marketing material is in the film for about three seconds. She's on a bridge, in a passing shot. You know, marketing films like this:
Presented as fact, this is another found footage movie. I've never been a fan of the actual shaky-cam of the genre, but aside from that I don't mind it. Presenting your movie as fact is no different than me suspending my disbelief and believing Star Wars is real. For forty years.
Starting with a phone call to the police a woman states she has killed three people. The film then confirms this by showing us the footage of the police shaky-camming around the house pointing at the dead bodies. Thus the backstory of the movie is told in the first five minutes. A woman undergoing a exorcism has broken free and killed the members of the clergy doing it.
Thus, the movie jumps ahead thirty years to the now grown up daughter of the woman, who will investigate her mother's motives, etc.
Mother was placed in psychiatric care in Rome, the setting for the movie.
Using a making-a-documentary excuse allows us to have the one camera man on duty, trailing around after Isabella Rossi, daughter of Maria Rossi, as she tries to determine whether or not exorcisms and possessions are real, or not.
Rossi, played by Fernanda Andrade, picks up a couple of rogue priests (!) along the way who offer to teach her about the things that the Vatican won't.
It all reads as pretty ludicrous, but it's actually quite well done. Certainly the first 50 minutes of the movie slow burns with some jump scares just to keep you awake, but it does a good enough job of engaging and explaining.
When the movie gets to dealing with the exorcism of Maria Rossi the film turns up the action.
We move from one set piece horror scene to another, with multiple demons and no knowledge of who is possessed and who not.
One of the priests kills himself in the knowledge that he has a demon in him, Isabella becomes possessed, the cameraman, even. Careening down the road on the way to some unseen (possible) savior, the car crashes, the realization that the possessions may be the work of the devil himself comes out, and film stops.
It just stops.
It doesn't finish.
It shows a flash card telling you to go to the website to find out more.
Then runs the credits. Slowly. In silence.
Where's the rest of my movie? It's like they just up and ran out of money. And the worst thing about it, is if you go to the website it's been purchased and is running ads of some sort. I mean, really?
Truth be told, the movie is a fairly 'by the playbook' possession horror, it has some predictable jump scares, but when it finally gets going it's pretty good. It grips.
It's actually good.
But then all of the good work is undone. The movie breaks. Is broken.
It made some money, sure (somewhere in the region of $35mil on a budget of $250K *whistles*), but was panned on release. And it's no surprise. It has 6% on Rotten Tomatoes.
As for the cast and crew? The Director, William Brent Bell, has gone on to do two further movies, Wer and The Boy. Neither have been acclaimed. Fernanda Andrade has done some TV work and Simon Quarterman (one of the two rogue priests, and by far the best actor in the movie) has grabbed a large part in the forth coming TV adaptation of West World.
Give it a miss. Not even so bad it's good. Just broken.