The Rite

I like horror movies, I like possessions and demons and stories about all that stuff. The only thing is I know that it’s just a story, just like all other horror, fantasy, science-fiction & adventure movies, but a film like this can also lead several religious nuts to think that they are justified in their delusions of the christian god, the devil & demons. I can watch this for what it is, entertainment.

Directed by Mikael Håfström and written by Michael Petroni, The Rite is an American supernatural horror film starring Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donaghue, Alice Vega & Rutger Hauer. It is based on Matt Baglio’s book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, which itself is based on allegedly real events with Father Gary Thomas.

Michael Kovak, the son of a mortician, decides to enter a seminary school and abdicate his vows upon completion thereby getting a free college degree. Four years later as he is being ordained at the seminary, Michael tend his resignation citing a lack of faith. Father Matthew wanting to talk Michael out of doing so, attempts to catch up to Michael on the street that evening. He trips and falls on the curb causing a passing cyclist to swerve in order to avoid him and is fatally injured when she is hit by a truck. Michael is the first to go to the dying woman’s aid and on seeing his clerical garb, she asks him for absolution, believing him to be a priest. Hesitant & reluctant Michael does as asked and the woman dies. The next day Father Matthew tells Michael that he is called to be a priest despite his resignation. He also gives him an invitation to travel to Rome in order to attend a class on exorcism. Michael reluctantly accepts after being told by Father Matthew that a $100,000 student loan will be levied if his immediate resignation stands but that if Michael attends the exorcism class and still desires to resign afterwards then they will discuss matters.

So Michael travels to Rome and during the classes he meets Angelina, a reporter who is also taking the course. Father Xavier on realizing that Michael is a skeptic and very tentative in his faith, sends the young American to see a friend of his, Father Lucas who is a renowned exorcist in a village outside Rome. There Michael sees one of Father Lucas’s patients, a 16 year old pregnant girl Rosario. We learn that she was raped by her father, leading to both pregnancy and possession by a demon. During the sessions the young girl coughs up 3 long nails and starts to speak fluent English (which she does not know) but Michael remains skeptical. She even reminds Michael of the loathing he has for his own father and the last body he embalmed. Angelina asks Michael to relay information to him about Father Lucas, as she tried to get an interview with him but he has always refused but Michael declines. Rosario’s condition worsens and she even tried to drown herself. At the hospital Father Lucas tries to perform an exorcism on her but during the night, she miscarried and dies herself from blood loss de major hemorrhaging. A disheartened Father Lucas feels that he has failed her.

Soon after that Father Lucas shows signs of being possessed himself. Angelina & Michael find him sitting in the pouring rain outside his house. Father Lucas tells Michael that he (Michael) must perform the exorcism on him. Michael try desperately to contact and find Father Xavier; however, they learn that he is out of contact for three days. After a barrage of continuous rebukes from the possessed priest, Michael is able to regain his lost faith and commands the demon to leave Father Lucas’s body by drawing out the name of the demon – Baal. The exorcism complete the demos leaves and Father Lucas recovers. Michael returns to the US and becomes a full fledged priest.

The movie leaves a lot to be desired and it’s very predictable. I always love Anthony Hopkins’ acting and he delivers a good performance here but the rest is just forced. 6 out of 10!

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