The Rite Movie Review

The Rite Movie Review


The organization and emotion of upcoming movie, “The Rite,” directed by Mikael Hafstrom, is somewhat similar to a classified ad. Oddly enough the characters insist that prayers are important. Yet the story is this: junior priest (a doubter), goes looking for an exorcist to save a young girl’s soul.

In this subgenre of horror films, the bread and butter is usually the attention to the tools used in the rituals and the practices of exorcism. In this new movie this attention is lacking. Anthony Hopkins plays a master exorcist and there’s a theme of doubt that goes undeveloped in this movie picture.

By the third act of the new movie release, the little bit of excitement that’s generated in the middle of the “The Rite” is diffused. In the middle the afflicted vomits spikes when she hears the name of God. Even if Hopkins fans support “The Rite,” whatever fire is generated is going to be doused by word of mouth.

In the beginning of the movie there are lots of close-ups of the scary looking utensils used in an exorcism. Michael Kovak, a mortician played by Colin O’Donoghue, normally uses this equipment for embalming rather than for the purging of demons. Michael decides to become a priest to get away from the family business. After his first four years, he decides to give up the priesthood but is told that he’ll have to pay for all of his education if he makes that decision. So the new priest is sent to the Vatican to learn about exorcism. But Michael is a skeptic. He goes to meet Father Lucas, played by Hopkins, and Lucas is self assured rather than scary. He is a perfect foil to Michael’s doubt. They’ve barely shaken hands when Michael goes upstairs with Lucas to perform a second exorcism on someone. Since it appears that exorcism can take months and even years to achieve, the idea of the one big exorcism is deflated. The worst part is that, during the exorcism, a cell phone rings, ruining the whole effect.

Stories about Catholicism often involve melodrama about doubt, faith, demons, innocents, and ritual. This often works well with the horror genre but a twist is needed. In this case Father Lucas is just way too practical to be an exorcist. He’s not much for ritual and seems to exude a sex appeal that’s odd in a movie priest of this genre. Since a lot of pomp and circumstance is really needed to offset the whole fearsome writhing of demonic possession, the film goes awry. It’s too bad that the performances in “The Rite” comes off as overacting.


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