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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom

Anthony Hopkins
Colin O Donoghue
Alice Braga

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What's it about
A seminary student, questioning his faith in God and the Church, enrolls in an elite Exorcism School in Rome, shadowing an experienced Exorcist as he treats multiple patients claiming to be possessed by demons.
Is it good movie?
There was a time when religious horror flicks like THE EXORCIST were all the rage, when no one thought there could be anything scarier than the devil possessing innocent people for shits and giggles. But after multiple EXORCIST movies, and the recent release of THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE and THE LAST EXORCISM, it appears as though the sub-genre is on its way out—or at least, it should be on its way out. Why? Because for every THE LAST EXORCISM there’s six THE RITE’s to take its place, an uninteresting, uninspired borefest of a film that attempts to be the real-deal in horror but fails miserably, only to be slightly saved by the entertaining performance of Sir Anthony Hopkins.

THE RITE’s biggest issue probably has to do with the film’s lead, Colin O’Donoghue, a guy who looks utterly bored out of his mind throughout the film, casting no real emotion whatsoever other than the look perplexed in thought and in disbelief. His monotone actions and all-around self-loathing demeanor make every scene he’s in as boring and unwatchable as he treats the rest of the movie. Not to say that Alice Braga brings anything to the table either, but at least she makes you believe that she actually gives a shit about being there, whereas O’Donoghue does not.

Pairing O’Donoghue to tag along Hopkins sits at the line of being genius or being a total disaster as Hopkins’ performance is actually passable, throwing in his own brand of dry humor in the mix and even gets to be a possessed a-hole for the later part of the movie. Don’t worry, that’s not a real spoiler or anything as it’s quite obvious that’s where the film is going and if it can hold your attention long enough to give a flying f*ck, then all the power to you. With a run time of just under 2 hours, the film is about 30 minutes longer than it needed to be, thus making the last half of the film a tedious mess to get through. Without characters and a storyline that I cared about, the film literally offers nothing to grasp onto and certainly nothing to stick with for the film’s entire duration.

It could be because religious horror flicks and those that deal with exorcisms do absolutely nothing for me, but I just think THE RITE was poor filmmaking. While the shots were squeaky clean and somewhat stylish, the soundtrack does nothing to set you in the right mood, and most importantly, they don’t even try to make you care about any of the possed, the exorcists themselves, or create any fear from the demons doing their dirty work. They assume that people will think a demon is scary, therefore if they present a demon, the audience will be scared. And if not, they’ll throw in a few ‘cats jumping from off screen’ jump-scares to do the trick—the oldest and cheapest trick in the book. But more than all of that, THE RITE falls flat on its face due to the combination of the lead actor and the script, both of which appeared not to care about the film or the audience they were making it for.

Video / Audio
Video: The Blu-ray was crispy, clean, and looked absolutely magnificent in 1080p HD. For such a dreary movie, the camerawork really shines here as do the wide shots of Rome. Fantastico!

Audio: The DTS remastered sound was heart-pounding when it needed to be, but kept it quiet during scenes of dialog and the like. In true Blu-ray formation, the film shined in both its audio and visual presentation.

The Extras
Deleted Scenes: The disc presents four or five deleted scenes, showcasing everything from an extended nightmare sequence, to the priest walking in on two people f*cking in an abandoned building, to a close chat between O’Donoghue and Hopkins. The scenes were somewhat interesting enough, but at 30 minutes longer than it should have, they were certainly cut from the final film for good reason.

Alternate Ending: The Blu-ray box claims this is a “chilling” alternate ending, but really it’s just a regular ol’ alternate ending that doesn’t really make much sense and is pretty obvious as to why it was replaced. Not that it would have ruined the movie if it was left in it, but holy hell it would have left room open for a sequel and that would have been a disaster.

The Rite: Soldier of God: This little 6 minute featurette is actually quite interesting as it talks about the real life priest and the real life reporter that the film was based on. It also shows a glimpse into the real Exorcism School and interviews a number of the producers and actors involved in the making of the movie. This is more interesting than the entire movie.

DVD & Digital Copy: I have to hand it to Warner Bros., including the DVD and the Digital Copy on their Blu-ray discs is pure gold—not that I’d want to watch THE RITE anywhere and everywhere I go, but having the option is awesome.

Last Call
Religious horror fanatics might be able to take something away from this movie, but for the rest of us who sit down and watch movies to be entertained, THE RITE fails big timel. It’s boring, it’s forced to rely on silly boo-scares, it’s about 30 minutes longer than it really needed to be, and the main lead looks like he gives less a f*ck about being in this movie than you probably will watching it. The Blu-ray is pretty dope though, but nothing to speem over unless you demand THE RITE in your movie collection.
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