Film & TV

Film Review: The Rite

Rating: M

Running Time: 113 minutes

Release Date: 10 March 2010

The Rite is the poor man’s version of The Exorcist probably hoping to cash in on the fact that the current gen Y wouldn’t know it, let alone have seen the aforementioned demonic horror masterpiece. In this contemporary take we have young priest in waiting, Michael Kovacs (Colin O’Donoghue) who travels to Rome to undertake exorcism training. There he meets reporter Angelina (Alice Braga) who is investigating this satanic phenomena for her latest expose and she attempts to enlist Michael’s help. However, as Michael questions his beliefs, his lecturer Father Xavier (Ciaran Hinds) sensing his crisis of faith, insists he spend time with highly experienced exorcist, Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins).

Directed by Mikael Hafstrom (1408), the film is based on a book The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio, who assisted on the screenplay with writer, Michael Petroni. The book is based on true events of Father Gary who was also a sceptic before becoming an exorcist. Unfortunately the script and direction seem to be over relying on this “it really happened” fact to provide some scare factor as there were actually no “I think i will have to sleep with the light on” moments during the film.

Anthony Hopkins is just hamming it up and lazily limps through this role unfortunately channelling Hannibal Lector on his way. Colin O’Donoghue is woefully miscast; he doesn’t have the skill to carry off a horror movie, particularly one which is hampered by a poor script. He never looks scared or convincing so why would the audience. In their attempt to have a hip, cool, 2011 version the script is littered with vernacular like “yo dude” from the young priest which is used inconsistently and jarringly at odds with his character. The whole premise of an attractive guy wanting to undertake seminal studies just to get away from his home life is simply not believable. There must be a pension scheme involved in the making of this film as they unfortunately resurrected Rutger Hauer to play Michael’s mortician father. Alice Braga by default is the only one worth watching in her small supporting role.

Disappointing particularly for those that have seen The Exorcist as the storyline is basically the same, young priest having a crisis of faith meets older exorcist performing priest however the difference is this isn’t scary. Some of the actual horror scenes were so ridiculous and contrived the audience couldn’t help laughing. No atmosphere, no tension, no originality, no worries.

2/5 stars

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