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Home > The Pope’s Exorcist (2023): A Review

The Pope’s Exorcist (2023): A Review

The Pope's Exorcist

Exorcism With a Touch of Wittiness

Years after William Friedkin directed the 1973 film The Exorcist, it would be difficult to find anyone that doesn’t have an idea of what an Exorcism is because Friedkin truly delivered a classic. He also directed the documentary “The Devil and Father Amorth,” which detailed the life of Father Amorth Gabriele. Hence, Over the years, a lot of directors have recreated films in the exorcism niche, and they all seem to follow the same progression; maybe that’s why Julius Avery decided to make The Pope’s Exorcist a little less like the typical fare. Produced by Screen Gen 2.0 Entertainment Loyola, the screenwriters Evan Spiliotopoulos and Michael Petroni adapted Father Gabriele Amorth Memoir, “An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories” who was the chief Vatican Exorcist from 1986 to 2016, to play Father Amorth (Russell Crowe) as a witty Italian speaking priest, with a good sense of humor. Thus, making the film a little less horrific.

A Little Theater 

 Crowe (Father Amorth) is a scooter-driving journalist, a partisan in the war, a theologian, and a Lawyer. His question on why St. Michael didn’t take down the devil when he could, while called to office in regards to the ‘suggestion’ (a form of exorcism) he performed in Spain, shows him as an actor easily gliding through his role. The Pope (Franco Nero)  sent him once again to Spain, where he meets Father Esquible; where they were to work together to exorcist a demon-possessed boy Henry (Peter DeSouza-Feighoney), in a Spanish Abbey, only to discover the church’s long-hidden secret.

Even though the film was based on Father Amorth’s story, the plot seems to be loosely related to the real life of Father Amorth. Some audiences may be disappointed with the way Avery displays the film with complaints that it wasn’t as Horrific as it should be, but at the beginning of the film where Father Amorth used the “Power of Suggestion” to drive a demon into a swine that was shot dead immediately. And when called for questioning, Amorth says that his work requires “a little conversation, a little understanding, and sometimes… a little theater”; it laid a little foreground of what to expect in the long run. But whether so horrific or not, Father Amorth (Crowe) keeps the viewer at the edge of their seat till the film runs to its very end.

The Pope's Exorcist


The Pope’s Exorcist seemed to let the church off the hook of their dirty history with how they explored the Spanish Inquisition. Julia (Alex Essoe), who is a newly widowed woman, and two of her children, Amy (Laurel Marsden) and Henry (Peter DeSouza-Feighoney), happen to be the victims of this church’s long-hidden secret as she travels to Spain to go renovate the only property her late husband left behind, which is a Spanish abbey at San Sebastian in Castile, Spain, to sell it after innovation. Being that Henry witnessed his father’s demise, he tends to go mute due to the shock of his experience. Although the loud music he plays kind of helped, the demon found a way into his body. And the demon first manifests its control over Henry by molesting his mom and calling her a ” fat cow”. The demon was powerful enough to semi-possess and control his sister through him, and she, at one point, did some impossible body-twisted walk. It was a tough case Father Amorth, and Father Esquibel had to find a way through. 

Freshening The Franchise

The film promotes itself as a horror, but it would be hard not to identify the touch Amorth laid into the film, like “telling the demon his worst fear is France winning the world cup”. And it kind of helped the audience deal with the film’s suspense because all the demons kept reminding the priests that your sins will seek you out, and God is not here.  

Having already directed Samaritan in 2022, Avery was able to show an improvement in his craft while directing the film. Because it was energy pulsing, a bit horrific with a slight touch of humor thanks to Crowe, it made the film a thrilling experience. The scenes were also captivating as you drift from one to another, with Crowe gliding through his roles like a ski master gliding snow. The film’s soundtracks provided a sense of suspense, and the songs used in the films were trending songs of its time, hence giving the film a sense of belonging. The customing and setting matched well with the film’s era too. The tiny details, such as furniture, cars, and building structures, made the film seem like something handpicked from the eighties to our screen, further giving it a nostalgic feeling. The lightning was a little complicated; it was always dark in the exorcism room, even when it was daylight outside the building, and it was a little confusing. But the film is worth the watch.

Final Rating.

Although all horror films are meant to be dark and scary and depict the manifestation of evil, the viewers will consider The Pope’s Exorcist a film they can watch without getting so scared. And how the characters flowed in the film will keep the audience in anticipation till the end.  

Will Father Amorth and Father Esqubile be able to defeat a demon in a place where God is not or sanctify themselves enough so their sins won’t or will seek them out.. hit the theater and find out!

The Pope's Exorcist

The Pope’s Exorcist (2023). Official Screen Gems Trailer. 

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Uzochukwu Izueke is an enthusiastic writer of fantasy, romance, and thriller. He loves reading myth-busting stories, watching movies, and video games. This inspires his writing on several subjects from lists to reviews and news.