The Pope's Exorcist - We're at this stage of Russell Crowe's career?

Directed by Julius Avery (Overlord).

The only thing giving me hope is the director made Overlord, which was bonkers dumb in a good way.

Does Crowe owe the IRS back taxes?

Maybe he found a house he likes.

Are you not exorcised?

What is with that accent? Is he channeling Lugosi?

He looks like a giant Antonio Banderas in that thumbnail.

I will watch this, no matter how bad it is. :D


Unless you just want to see Russell Crowe motoring around on a Vespa, this was pretty underwhelming. But if anyone wants to watch a not-very-good exorcism movie, let me recommend Pray for the Devil instead for its bonkers worldbuilding. Pray for the Devil’s exorcism stuff is all very familiar, but the wind-up is hilariously earnest and quite entertaining. If you need any convincing, I’ll spoil it for you:

The premise of Pray for the Devil is that the Catholic Church has an exorcism college for graduate-level training in exorcising demons, and since this is the Catholic Church, ladies aren’t allowed to be exorcists. There’s a big building and campus and everything, with a sign that says something obvious like “Exorcism College”. But that’s just the beginning. It gets goofier.

More spoilers?

During classes, students sometimes go to the exorcism lab in the basement of the college, where they keep possessed people for lab studies, workshops, seminars, that sort of thing. The premise of Pray for the Devil is that – oops! – the class messes up an exorcism lab and a nun who’s along as an observer gets drawn into a demonic scheme. Did I mention this is NOT a comedy and that it’s all presented very seriously?

The actual movie isn’t nearly as fun as the set-up, which I’ve just ruined for you. But at least maybe I’ve steered some unsuspecting viewers away from The Pope’s Exorcist to the more interesting Pray for the Devil.

EDIT: So I just looked it up because I obviously didn’t remember, but the title is actually PREY for the Devil. Get it? Prey instead of pray? Some real wordsmiths worked on that movie.

I haven’t seen The Pope’s Exorcist yet, but I did watch Prey for the Devil and the goofiest bit for me was…

…when they earnestly revealed that the possessed kid was her daughter all along like it was some big twist! Yeah, thanks movie. We figured that out when she first started talking about how she had a baby and they made her give it up.

But hey, I’ll take more Jacqueline Byers where I can get it. I did have to do a double-take when Virginia Madsen popped up.

Ha ha, you saw Prey for the Devil.

Right?!? I didn’t want to get into my usual “such-and-such actor was really good”, but…Jacquiline Byers was really good in Prey for the Devil! There are a million lovely blonde actresses who could have whiffed that role, but she managed to stand out. I also really liked a fellow named Colin Salmon, a black character actor I’ve seen a million times, as her boss. He’s kind of like a less intimidating Idris Elba.

Meanwhile, all Pope’s Exorcist offers is Russell Crowe committing to an Italianey accent.

By the way, Christopher Smith (of Triangle fame) just released his latest, which is also about nuns. It’s called Consecration and it’s a decent enough horror mystery. Not an exorcism movie, though.

Yup. I give her major props for delivering those goofball lines with a fair amount of gravitas and emotion. It doesn’t hurt that she’s got one of those faces that isn’t just cookie-cutter pretty.

I hadn’t heard of Prey for the Devil, but now I kind of want to see it.

I finally watched The Pope’s Exorcist. It’s bad, but it is sort of bonkers. I don’t know if it’s bonkers enough to be so-bad-it’s-good, but I was entertained. I’m pretty sure that’s not what the studio or director was going for.

First, it’s supposedly based on the books written by the real-life Father Gabriele Amorth. I haven’t read any of his exorcism accounts, but I have to assume they don’t end with the demons dissolving into CG lava-blood pixels. Oops! Spoilers, I guess! If Amorth has nekkid hot chick blood demons in his books, I guess I need to check them out.

Second, I’ll give it to Russell Crowe not just phoning it in when by all rights he could’ve just sat around and grumped his way to another fat check. He commits to the goofy accent. I think it’s supposed to be Italian, but it’s like when Jeff Bridges does a southern drawl. It’s all cigarette-throat growls and rattles between mumble-slurs. I think it must’ve amused Crowe to do it and I dearly hope it was one of those situations where a young director could not wrangle the veteran star out of an affectation.

Third, casting Franco Nero as the Bishop of Rome is something. Although no one ever names him, it has to be Pope John Paul II, since the movie takes place in 1987. Which makes it even funnier to cast Nero as the first non-Italian Pope in centuries.

Finally, (spoilers again) ending the movie by showing a stinger promising a series based on Amorth heading a high-tech MI6-style group to hunt for the other 199 demons roaming the Earth is some wishful thinking. If it ever does come to pass, I expect one season on Syfy before cancellation. Does Screen Gems have its own streaming service? Maybe Tubi then.

As an extra bit of wackiness, the movie also features a B-plot with a stereotypical young bureaucrat antagonist who tries to foil Amorth’s work by getting him fired but then ends up learning that evil is real and Amorth was right all along. Never mind that he’s like hundreds of miles away and has nothing to do with the main plot whatsoever. Please clap and hoot at the schmuck getting his lesson.

Thanks @Telefrog I might give this a watch tonight, as I’ve had a horror movie craving as of late.

In addition to what @Telefrog said, where else are you going to get scenes of Crowe noodling around on a Vespa like the player model in some whack-ass GTA mission?

Thank you, Catholicism!

He’s not wearing any pants.

OMG, you’re right! @TimElhajj just made Pope’s Exorcist go from a 6 to a 9 on the 7-10 scale!

I caught this on a plane from Europe back to the US. I enjoyed it alot for all the reasons Telefrog mentions, plus the Vespa!

Okay, I really want to see this movie now. That has had me giggling all morning.