Inspired by author Matt Baglio's nonfiction book of the same name, director Mikael Håfström's supernatural thriller traces the experiences of a young seminary student who discovers the true power of faith after being drafted into the Vatican's Exorcism School and confronted by the forces of darkness. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: Mikael Håfström
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O'Donoghue, Alice Braga, Ciarán Hinds, Toby Jones, Rutger Hauer
Release Date: Jan 28, 2011
Rated PG-13 for Disturbing thematic material, sexual references, language, frightening images and violence
Runtime: 1 hr. 52 min.
Anthony Hopkins’ character asks, early on in this insipid and horribly clichéd film, “What were you expecting? Spinning heads and pea soup?” At that point in the film, that’s exactly what I wasn’t hoping for and with such a garish dismissal of the usual exorcist genre tropes it leaves you wondering if perhaps we’ll see something new and fresh. Sadly, it doesn’t take The Rite long to fall into an all too familiar pattern. A young priest lacking faith, an elder priest who’s been battling the devil for his entire life, standard contortions and demonic sounding voices, etc, etc…. Throw in some shoddy and thoroughly unnecessary CGI just for good measure. So if we don’t get a fresh take on this genre then at the very least the film should frighten us. Even here it fails, using the cheapest of scares while never getting within shouting distance of any sort of tension. The character’s barely register and carry all the emotional weight of a paper bag. Colin O'Donoghue doesn’t bring much to the table and is instantly forgettable. Alice Braga is thoroughly self serious throughout while being given very little to do. Anthony Hopkins seems to sleep walk through most of his scenes only to pull out a faux version of his Lecter character in the final act which borders on parody. Strangely the only actor who brings any level of creepiness is Rutger Hauer who’s in the film for a total of 5 minutes. Director Mikael Håfström tries to dress this all up as much as possible but in the end it’s like putting make up on a hog.