- horror reviews - MOH 2023

The Pope's Exorcist

IMDb Info

Release Year: 2023
Runtime: 1h 43m
Country: USA, UK, Spain
Language: English, Italian, Spanish, Latin, German
Genre Tags: Horror, Thriller
Plot Summary: Follow Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's leading exorcist, as he investigates the possession of a child and uncovers a conspiracy the Vatican has tried to keep secret.

Poster - Title Card rating: notes: The first half is a clash of Russell Crowe hamming it up and a very self-serious family story. Fortunately, the second half abandons the family (was this subplot even needed?) and doubles down on the camp and dark humor. It's a pity it doesn't find its true tone until the final act; there's a zany horror movie hiding in there. It even ends with the suggestion of sequels featuring Crowe as some sort of James Bond exorcist!

Outside Reviews:

Matt Zoller Seitz
2 out of 4 stars -

Crowe makes the movie worth seeing. He plays Amorth as a prideful cut-up, greeting vile taunts with a deadpan smirk and snappy answers. When the demon growls that he's Amorth's worst nightmare, Amorth replies, "My worst nightmare is France winning the World Cup." Crowe plays the character's dry, needling wit just right. He's even more appealing when he lets the audience see insecurities that the priest keeps hidden. When Father Esquibel tells Amorth that he's read his articles about possession in magazines, Amorth mentions that he writes books, too, then softly adds, "The books are good." When Avery cuts to traveling shots of Amorth puttering on highways and country roads on his scooter, the frock, collar, fedora, and sunglasses make the character iconic: coolly ridiculous, ridiculously cool.

Austen Goslin
The Pope's Exorcist teases 199 sequels and I would watch every single one of them

The Pope's Exorcist doesn't match the bone-deep terror or filmmaking heights of the original Exorcist, but sets itself apart by building the whole movie on an understanding that its whole premise is a little silly and it's never afraid to lean into that fact, like when Amorth reminds a jury of Vatican peers that if they have a problem with him they can take it up with his boss (the pope). It's well made and takes its scary moments seriously, but approaches every scene as an opportunity to let the audience have fun, either through scares or jokes.