Man’s eternal fight with the devil is the oldest horror story, and as such it’s been the premise of many horror films. The template for most of them is the excellent 1973 film The Exorcist. And ever since its release filmmakers have been trying to duplicate its success by replicating the terror it caused moviegoers. The Exorcism of God is the latest, and one with an interesting premise. However, it falls short by relying on several tropes that are common in many horror films, while ignoring its own potential uniqueness.
Father Peter Williams (Will Beinbrink, It Chapter Two) was a young priest working in Mexico when he first encountered the demon that would haunt him throughout his life. A poor family has a daughter experiencing demonic possession, and that family calls him in to help. He opted to face the demon by himself instead of waiting for more experienced help, and ended up possessed by it himself. The demon forced him to commit an unspeakable sin, which he buried deep inside instead of facing. Eighteen years later the consequences of that fateful day come back to haunt him. Now the demon has found a new girl to possess. It has released a plague among the children of the village he works in. In order to defeat it, Peter needs to face up to the sins of the past. Even if yes, it means his life will be irrevocably changed forever.
The Exorcism of God‘s overall premise is unique. What if the priest trying to help a possessed person ends up becoming that which he is trying to stop? Even worse, what if he fails to face up to his sin? Unfortunately the premise gets buried beneath classic horror film scare tactics that are more interested in making you jump out of your seat. They should have had more moments that get into your head and preventing you from sleeping at night.
Visually, the film is stunning, which perfectly sets the tone. The acting is great as well, led by Will Beinbrink. In every scene you can see the torment his character is going through. This isn’t an easy task to pull off. It’s just a shame that a film with so much promise fails to live up to it due to the decision to make it like every other horror film.
While The Exorcism of God is disappointing for not living up to its potential, there are plenty of reasons to still watch it. It’s a horror movie that will make you jump and it is still scary. It just could have been so much more.
- Rated: R
- Genre: Drama, Horror
- Release Date: 3/10/2022
- Directed by: Alejandro Hidalgo
- Starring: Joseph Marcell, María Gabriela de Faría, Will Beinbrink
- Produced by: Alejandro Hidalgo, Antonio Abdo, Joel Seidl, Karim Kabche
- Written by: Alejandro Hidalgo, Santiago Fernández Calvete
- Studio: Epica Pictures, Mouth of the Devil