Jeri Jacuin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from director Julius Avery and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a story inspired by a priest’s files as he becomes THE POPE’S EXORCIST.

Father Amorth (Russell Crowe) is an exorcist who works closely with the Vatican. Not a usual priest, the father has a humor and disregard for ridiculousness that puts him in the line of fire to his superiors. The only person who seems to accept him for his shenanigans is would be his big boss – the Pope (Franco Nero).

The Pope calls Father Amorth to take on the case of a boy in Spain who is showing signs of possession. Mom Julia (Alex Essoe) has brought teen daughter Amy (Laurel Marsden) and young son Henry (Peter DeSouza-Feighoney) from the United States to a home they inherited in Spain. Having it renovated, one of the workers discovers something mysterious that causes a fire injuring several of them.

This doesn’t help Henry who is still recovering from being in a car accident that took his father as he begins to show outward bizarre behavior. When the doctors can’t help, Henry demands to see a priest. Father Tomas Equibel (Daniel Zovatto) arrives which only angers whatever has taken over the boy.   

When Father Amorth arrives, the possessed Henry makes it clear that he knows what scares every person in the house. Speaking with Julia, the priest tells her it is time to embrace the faith she once had as a child to help Henry. Father Amorth wants to discover what it is in the house that is causing the possession to become stronger and more powerful.

While he investigates with Father Tomas, the Pope discovers information on his own and it is so powerful that it puts him in the hospital. It seems there is a frightening and long-time history to the house and what lies beneath is coming to the surface wanting to take everything. The only way to stop it is for both priests to accept their sins of the past and focus on the present.

The destructive evil that wants the world needs to be stopped!

Crowe as Father Amorth gives his character a quirkiness that one would not expect from a priest. His tactics are unorthodox and puts him at odds with the younger priests who don’t believe in evil and his sense of humor is not appreciated by all. I love when Crowe takes a role that is so unexpected and makes it pretty darn cool. Even when the character of Father Amorth is rattled, he doesn’t look rattled – but instead, takes a minute and then stands his ground.

Zovatto as Father Tomas lives wrapped up in his own guilt. He wants to be a good priest but can not seem to get past it all. Meeting Father Amorth, he is quickly shocked and discovers there is quite a difference between reading about what the priest has done and seeing it with his own eyes. Playing opposite Crowe, Zovatto takes up his characters arms and it looks good on him.

DeSouza-Feighoney as Henry because this couldn’t have been an easy role for the young boy to play. It is deep, a bit raunchy at times and filled with everything one would expect from a possession. He takes it on and gives it the perfect creepy, scary and frightening performance. Esso as Julia only wanted a new start for her family, well, she got it! Marsden as Amy is the typical teenager who thinks she knows everything and does all possible to irritate her mother.

Shout out to Nero as the Pope. Look, I’ve had a secret period-piece crush on him since 1967 seeing him play Lancelot in the musical film CAMELOT. Here he is 56 years later with his stunning eyes making me smile in a horror film.

Other cast include Cornell John as Bishop Lumumba, Ryan O’Grady as Cardinal Sullivan and Ralph Ineson as the voice of Asmodeus.

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Special Features include Introducing Father Amorth and What Possessed You? The story is based on the 1990 book An Exorcist Tells His Story AND THE 1992 BOOK An Exorcist: More Stories.

THE POPE’S EXORCIST is everything one would expect from a horror film about possession. Crowe takes the lead as a man who first makes sure it is a true possession and once he realizes it is, brings in his kit and stands his ground. What I really like about this film is that yes, he handles demons but he investigates where it comes from and what is the history of it all.  

The story that unravels is just as fascinating as the possession of young Henry. The history of the church comes to light in this story and it historically it is almost a lesson wrapped up in entertainment. I don’t mind that at all, in fact, having it be based on Father Amorth’s own files brought me deeper into the story.

I actually think this has a potential to have a franchise and I would be all in. Especially if Crowe takes on a few more films in this role bringing Zavotto along as his trusty side-kick. His portrayal of this unique priest is very cool so I hope studios think about it. I mean hey, it has worked for the INSIDIOUS franchise, right?

Hang onto your rosary’s, its going to get crazy at the Vatican.

In the end – know his name!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.