The Question of Evil: Our Review of ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’ on Blu-Ray

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - July 14, 2023
The Question of Evil: Our Review of ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’ on Blu-Ray

Sometimes you need to take things on a little bit more then faith…

Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD; The Pope’s Exorcist borrows some decent enough beats horror possession genre that it is born from, but it in many ways it actually plays more like an investigative procedural into the nature of evil….and that’s not all together a bad thing.

Inspired by the actual files of Father Gabriele Amorth (Russell Crowe), Chief Exorcist of the Vatican, The Pope’s Exorcist follows Amorth as he investigates a young boy’s terrifying possession and ends up uncovering a centuries-old conspiracy the Vatican has desperately tried to keep hidden.

Less a film about the visceral reactions behind being scared and more about the “why’s” and the origins of evil; The Pope’s Exorcist won’t necessarily satisfy those looking for a healthy jump scare but it gives us enough to appreciate the never ending war between good and evil and it’s constantly evolving field of battle.

Director Julius Avery (who some audiences will know from 2018’s Overlord) is certainly a solid enough storyteller and ropes in quickly to the tone and tenor of the piece as it’s less about the unknown and more about fighting it.

The film moves with a clean pace and with its minimal location set ups it is never distracting us with anything that doesn’t need to be there in the first place.  The production design is strong and with its idyllic yet creepy location we as an audience understand pretty quickly that some weird stuff is either going on, or will be imminently.  And while there’s admittedly nothing “new” happening here, everything that does happen is executed exceptionally well.

Thankfully the tone of the piece is achieved through an unsurprisingly solid performance from Russel Crowe as Father Gabriele Amorth.  He’s never trying to oversell anything “supernatural” and rather paints the reality that MOST people presenting as possessed are actually mentally ill (which is true).

But remember that important word we used boys and girls, that word is “MOST”.

Just because 99% of the cases he confronts doesn’t need his unique set of skills, it doesn’t mean that he isn’t needed because evil is still out there and the church needs the tools in order to confront it.  Crowe sells this through humor and pathos and does it pretty darn well.

Actors like Daniel Zovatto and (Canada’s own Alex Essoe) provide some solid support in what is essentially a dramatic chamber piece of a movie.  Even Franco Nero as the Pope himself shows up.

The picture and sound quality on the BD are quite good over all, unfortunately though the special features on the Blu-Ray are a little lacking with the exception of two brief behind the scenes featurettes.

At the end of the day, there’s more than enough in The Pope’s Exorcist to make it an enjoyable watch but if anything it’s going to be for fans who want to appreciate the “why” behind what it is about the nature of evil that scares us rather than actually being scared.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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