Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A crippled young lady who happens to be the daughter of an italian count becomes posessed by an evil spirit, and an exorcist is brought in to help the cause.
Stop me if you've heard this one..
Is it good movie?
In short, the answer is 'no' with a 'but', and to stretch things out..
We get 'yes' with an 'if'. The fact about this movie is that it is quite simply, an Exorcist rip-off, designed to cash in on that particular movie's popularity at the time. In fact, the DVD amaray even has this fact listed on the back, which seems sort of strange. However, it claims to be the 'cream of the crop', and 'more shocking' than those other lame tie-ins.
It does succeed, a bit, but ultimately remains a little pointless. The main differences I noticed were that DeMartino's version plays a bit more heavily upon religion and catholicism in general. In fact, many different 'healing' methods are tried, from hypnotism, to faith healing, to religious idols, to the eventual exorcism.
The story is rather well fleshed out for the most part, and we see quite a bit of development, especially in Ippolita. The sub-plot of her father's affair with his secretary really reflects some of her inner torment, and I thought it was really interesting when it was revealed that she was a witch burned at the stake in a past life.
Unfortunately, the originality sort of ends once the 'exorcism' begins, and we go into an all-too-familiar rehash of the original movie, except with low-budget special effects and minor differences. We get the nasty voice, the levitating objects, bibles igniting, etc.
My biggest problem with this film is that while it can be rather intense at certain points, especially during the last half of the film, its rising action and climax fall flat. I appreciated the religious symbolism (whoa..goats) and the various faiths explored in the film, and also thought that the acting was rather good, but in the long run, there simply is no real reason to watch this instead of The Exorcist, unfortunately.
Video / Audio
Anchor Bay has not disappointed us with this DVD, we get an anamorphic widescreen 1.85.1 transfer, and its anmorphically enhanced and simply beautiful. Lots of red shines through here.
Surprisingly enough in the audio department, we get a simple 2.0 mix that is rather inoffensive, and not worth writing home about.
Our main extra comes in the form of Raising Hell, a short, 10 minute interview with director Alberto DeMartino and soundtrack composer Ennio Morricone. It is short, but does have a few nuggets of information in there. DeMartino actually defends his film, and tries to differentiate it from The Exorcist, and talks about his subtle filmmaking ideas. Although its short, its awesome that Anchor Bay tracked these guys down and shot some supplements for the DVD.
Other than that, we get a TV Spot (when the film was known as The Tempter and a still gallery of posters and other promo shots.
In the long run, The Antichrist ends up fading quietly in the background as a nearly forgotten film that doesn't have quite enough merit to stand on its own. It did get a decent treatment from Anchor Bay, though, and if you're into this type of film, I'd suggest you check it out, but I certainly can't simply recommend it!