I am only a permanent deacon and a film critic, not a priest and certainly not an exorcist, but if Cristina’s voice hasn’t been digitally tweaked, for my money the devil needs a new sound design team.
Wan goes bigger and splashier here than in the first Conjuring. Metaphorically splashier, I mean; it’s not very bloody, but it’s bloody scary, thanks to Wan’s skills and some shrewd choices by Chad and Carey Hayes, the screenwriting brothers (both Christians) who wrote both films.
García takes his time in the early scenes, allowing us to ease into the rhythms of this eremitic phase in its protagonist’s life. A spiritual journey can’t be rushed; the mind and body must submit to long hardship for the spirit to attain its goal.
“When it comes to fighting vampires and performing exorcisms, the Roman Catholic Church has the heavy artillery” is how Roger Ebert opened his review of John Carpenter’s Vampires.
Édgar Ramírez might be my favorite horror-movie priest.
Scott Derrickson is such a great interview subject that it was hard for me to cut down our sprawling 45-minute discussion to the 2500-odd words of the text article that ran earlier this week. I’m very pleased, then, to be able to offer the Reel Faith video version of the entire interview.
Why would a mother at the zoo throw her toddler over a railing into the moat of a lion enclosure? That’s the kind of horrible question that can look very different if you are a police officer or a priest.
Scott Derrickson is a very nice guy who makes movies about things that aren’t very nice.
In a way, The Exorcist is a pivotal film — the indispensable link between the Catholic-inflected piety of Golden Age Hollywood and the demonic world of latter-day horror.
Thirty years after The Exorcist, when it comes to fighting the powers of hell, the Catholic Church still has the heavy artillery, as Roger Ebert once wrote.
Producer Sam Raimi has been milking this premise since 1978. It’s no longer plausible that these teenagers still haven’t seen any movies like this.
Just over a month before his death on Easter Thursday, Roger Ebert wrote a blog post titled “How I Am a Roman Catholic” — a follow-up of sorts to a 2009 post called “How I Believe in God.”
At last, a horror film for disaffected Catholic traditionalists embittered against the Church for post-Vatican II changes; who see the Church itself, not just the larger culture, as compromised by modernism, and impeding orthodox clerics from carrying out true spiritual work.
The Rite really wants to get it right.
In some ways, Mikael Håfström’s new film reminds me less of recent exorcism films than of the sort of movie that Terence Fisher made for Hammer Films in the late 1950s and 1960s, movies like The Devil Rides Out and the 1958 Dracula. If Father Lucas, an unconventional veteran exorcist working in Rome, had been played by Hammer icon Christopher Lee instead of Anthony Hopkins, he would have been right at home.
There’s a villain with magical powers — but instead of Disneyfied magic, like Aladdin’s friendly genie, the film’s New Orleans voodoo is an occult world of terrifying powers and principalities in which the villain himself is at much at risk as anyone. It’s almost Disney’s most overtly Christian depiction of magic and evil at least since Sleeping Beauty, if not ever — though the waters are muddied by a benevolent, swamp-dwelling hoodoo mama in a sort of fairy-godmother role.
Bigger effects and badder creatures make Del Toro’s second take on Hellboy more entertaining than the original, but something’s still missing in the story of the super hero from hell.
You won’t find the gospel in movies like Hellboy. What you may find is signs of a world that has been touched by the gospel — a world that retains some awareness of sinister forces to be avoided or resisted, of evil that cannot be overcome by therapy or education or communication, that calls for a response from another realm entirely.
You just take your pills and you’ll be fine, really, Chris (Ellen Burstyn) promises her daughter Regan (Linda Blair), but part of the film’s brief is that pills aren’t the answer to everything, and faith and religion may have answers science doesn’t.
There are no scenes of spinning heads, projectile pea-soup vomiting, or levitating beds in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (opening September 9), starring Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, and Campbell Scott.
A line in the trailer for The Exorcism of Emily Rose, felicitously cut from the final film, observes that There’s no pill for the devil. More to the point, there’s no diagnostic test or scan for him, either.
The comic-book Constantine is a blond Brit based in Liverpool (think Sting by way of Christopher Lee in Terence Fisher’s The Devil Rides Out). For the film, the casting of Keanu led to a change of setting to California and LA. Similarly, the casting of Shia LaBeouf (Holes) as Constantine’s ally Chandler turned the character from a seasoned comrade in arms into a Jimmy Olsen-like junior sidekick. (Whatever happened to casting actors who fit the part?)
The best thing about Hellboy is Hellboy. And he’s a demon.
We must not be too quick to judge any particular portrait of Christ merely because it challenges our expectations or makes us uncomfortable, or because it doesn’t immediately evoke his divinity. After all, Jesus himself often confounded the expectations of his contemporaries, and didn’t necessarily impress most of them as being divine.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.