The Rite: Late Movie Review

Posted: April 24, 2011 in Movies

Horror movies always come to Korea late, and I almost missed this one as it had a limited release here. This January 2011 American film is loosely based on the book The Making of a Modern Exorcist, which chronicles accounts of actual exorcisms. The main character, Michael, is a mortician’s son (whose father is played by Rutger Hauer). Michael goes to the priesthood to escape the family business, and through a series of events ends up studying Exorcisms under Father Lucas, played by Anthony Hopkins. Two conceits of this film is that the demon must be forced to say it’s name, and that the Exorcist must have faith to win the battle. This brings complications as Michael is skeptical.

There’s a few things this movie brings that haven’t been seen in Exorcism movies before, including multiple possessions, and a humorous touch when Hopkins cell phone rings during an Exorcism.

Like a few Exorcism movies before it, like The Last Exorcism and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, it plays onto the skeptical side. Michael wonders if it really is possession and not psychological trauma. However this side isn’t as played as strongly as it was in the 2 previously films, playing much more strongly to the supernatural side.

Michael takes a class on Exorcism at the Vatican. We see the class looking like a modern college class, with computer equipment and big screen presentations, that was a nice touch. At the class he meets Sandra, a journalist taking the class to write a story about it. Michael is reluctant to help her at first, and learns that her brother was put in an asylum for claiming to be possessed.

Like the Last Exorcism, this movie is light on scares, but does have a few. The best one being one of Michaels flashback scenes involving his father. It’s really the story of Michael’s journey through faith. It’s a fairly interesting story, but loses some steam toward the end. Sandra’s dialogue of encouragement to him at the end is a little heavy handed, and the end scene can come across as a little hokey. Also midway through there’s something Hopkins does involving a frog that seemed so odd it was unintentionally hilarious. That shook the tone of the film a little. Still, Hopkins was great to watch, playing an unorthodox man of faith, whose had his own struggles with doubt. At times you can see him channeling his inner Hannibal Lector of 20 years ago, coming out as a man unglued.

I don’t know how much of this story can actually be considered true. The Emily Rose film for example, was based on a true case but was mostly a work of fiction. Overall it’s at least a fairly interesting story, but with a weaker ending places it on the lower tier of modern exorcism movies. 8/10


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