<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by William Brent Bell. Starring Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth.
Inspired by The Exorcist, The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity this horror film is unnerving at points but you can’t help disliking it for many reasons.
A young girl’s mother kills three men of the cloth and is shipped off to an Italian mental institution. The girl, Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade) grows up and wants to find out what really happened: was it a mental disorder or something more sinister like demonic possession. She and her friend cameraman Michael (Ionut Grama) take the trip from America to Italy and join a bunch of priests engaged in the study of exorcism to help her decipher the mystery. Sounds interesting but it ends up being a bit of a mess.
Because the film follows a strange format where it’s partly amateur hand-held camera footage, partly documentary footage where they appear to be interviewing members of the church and doctors and then it’s partly stupid too. At one point Isabella sits with this group of priests in a coffee shop after their exorcism class and tells them about her mother killing the priests. I turned to my friend sitting next to me and say “They’re never gonna wanna see her again.” And they all leave and say bye-bye! Okay I’m exaggerating. Two of the priests played by Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth do end up helping her but first they want her to witness a real life exorcism.
This is the scene of the movie. The girl who they exorcise is mangled, contorted, and is obviously possessed by a super devil. She spouts obscenities at the priests: “I want to suck your cock” and bleeds from her vagina. It’s the most disturbing and scary scene in the film. Of course the demon is exorcised but then there is something called transference, if you get my drift.
From then on the movie collapses as the characters go ballistic and you don’t really know what their intentions and motivations are. Even the scene where they exorcise Isabella’s mother is pretty lame. By the end they’re all pretty much done for and the premature finale though welcome is a waste and feels like the writers too just wanted to get it over with.
But one must say that the film despite horrible critic’s reviews (5% on Rotten Tomatoes) is doing well at the box office with nearly $20 million on its opening weekend!