The Rite (2011)
Director: Mikael Håfström
Cast: Colin O’Donoghue, Anthony Hopkins, Alice Braga, Ciarán Hinds and Rutger Hauer
Synopsis: Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue), is a Mortician working for his father Istvan (Rutger Hauer) who he has become estranged with over the years. In order to get out of being a Mortician for the rest of his life he decides to go into Seminary School in order to become a Priest. Nearly done his Priesthood Michael sends an email to Father Matthew requesting to leave the school because of a lack of faith. His religious beliefs are further jolted when he sees a young girl haplessly dying in a road accident for whom he reluctantly performs the ritual to absolve her sins. Father Matthew still believes in him and urges him to go to Italy to take an exorcism course hoping that he it would strengthen his faith in Christianity. In Italy he attends a session from Father Xavier (Ciarán Hinds) who soon becomes aware of his skepticism. As a result he sends him to an eminent Jesuit exorcist, Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), whose ways though questionable are quite effective. He witnesses the exorcism of a sixteen year old girl but still seems unconvinced. Father Lucas explains to him that it takes multiple sessions over a long stretch of time to completely free a victim from the demon. In the class he also meets a young reporter named Angeline (Alice Braga) who is doing a story on the course and wants to interview Michael about Father Lucas. Despite witnessing some supernatural occurrences during the aforesaid exorcism, Michael is as skeptical as ever. After the second exorcism, the girls condition becomes quite critical as she is moved to a hospital. She soon dies and the demon finds a new victim in Father Lucas. Now Michael with the help of Angeline must confront his beliefs and help exorcise the demon from Father Lucas before it destroys them all.
Trivia: Mikael Håfström attended exorcisms to prepare for directing the film. He was not allowed to witness them, but he could hear what was happening from outside the door. The image used to describe the demon Baal is usually that of a man, a cat, a toad, or a combination of all of them. Lucas house is infested with cats, as well as toads in the fountain.
How scary is this really?: I’ll be honest I was super excited about this movie because it was a film about exorcisms starring Anthony Hopkins one of my all time favourites. While not bringing anything new to the table this movie is not that bad but could have been better. Colin O’Donoghue gives a solid performance as Michael but Hopkins steals the show especially in the third act. This movie has some scary moments but is not an overly scary film though doesn’t always sit well with horror fans. Worth seeing at least once.