Russell Crowe battles demons & his own past in ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’

Losing your sense of self.

| Sulaiman Daud | Sponsored | April 05, 2023, 06:00 PM

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What would you do if your little brother was possessed by some unholy spirit, his face contorted into a terrifying visage, spewing gunk on the walls and ceiling that is definitely not pea soup?

Would you:

A - Run screaming from the room, and not stop until you’ve crossed the Causeway.

B - Whip out your phone and start recording the scene for a TikTok video.

C - Pee your pants.

D - Call someone who actually knows what they’re doing to help out.

If you answered D, you might be pleased to know that there are indeed such experts. One of them is Gabriele Amorth, a real-life Catholic priest who died in 2016. When he was alive, he was the official chief exorcist of the Vatican.

A Roman Catholic priest from Italy, Amorth claimed to have performed as many as 50,000 exorcisms throughout his long career. Although he did clarify that in his book, an exorcism could be a quiet prayer while alone, and some cases required multiple such “exorcisms”.

And it’s his book on which the new movie, “The Pope’s Exorcist”, is based.

Played by a genial Russell Crowe (looking more like Zeus from the Marvel Cinematic Universe than Maximus the Gladiator), Father Amorth is a gentle soul who likes to joke with passing nuns and priests and is a keen football fan.

With a Santa Claus-esque beard, and a twinkle in his eye, Amorth strides the rural roads of an Italian village and the corridors of the Vatican with equal ease.

Though behind the pleasant facade lies the soul of a warrior.

Amorth is no ordinary priest. He is an exorcist, sent to do battle with those whose bodies have been stolen by malevolent spirits.

Wielding the relics of his office, full of confidence and showing absolutely no fear, Amorth can overcome even the most blood-curdling cases. Even when all seems lost, Amorth brings forth hope from despair, a real-life ghost buster.

But what happens when Amorth comes face-to-face with a demon that even he may not be able to banish back to the beyond?

Battle with evil

Now even though I’m a big fan of horror movies, I am also a massive scaredy-cat. I know, it’s not exactly the best of combos.

So I do silly things like watch horror movies late at night and then jump at every single noise that may or may not be ghosts.

I can’t even begin to imagine dealing with a genuine, levitating-bodies, head-spinning case of possession. I would blubber and curl up in a fetal position on the ground, utterly unable to do anything.

But where there are demons, there are those who fight them.

That’s where heroes like “The Pope’s Exorcist” come in. Amorth is exactly the kind of man you’d want in a tight spot.

Whether joking about Italy in the World Cup or forcing a demon back with nothing but the power of faith, Amorth is exactly the kind of larger-than-life companion who brings hope to hopeless situations. Even if the curtains are on fire and your loved one is speaking in Latin.

While possession movies have taken some twists and turns, Sony Pictures has come up with something that feels like a throwback to the Hollywood of before, a contrast to the “new horror” stylings of someone like Jordan Peele or Ari Aster.

Directed by Julius Avery, the man behind another horror film (Overlord 2018), “The Pope’s Exorcist” promises to be a worthy entry in the annals of possession-based horror.

Check out the trailer below:

The Pope’s Exorcist” is in cinemas on April 6, 2023.

Get your tickets here.

Catch it in cinemas – and don’t forget to look behind your shoulder.

This is a sponsored article brought to you by Sony Pictures.

All images from Sony Pictures.