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The Crucifixion (Movie Review)

The Crucifixion (Movie Review)
10.05.2017by: Mike Sprague
8 10

PLOT: When a priest is jailed for the murder of a nun on whom he was performing an exorcism, an investigative journalist strives to determine whether he, in fact, murdered a mentally ill person, or if he lost the battle with a demonic presence.

REVIEW: Let me just get this out of the way right off the bat: I am a not a big fan of the exorcism sub-genre of horror. Sure there have been a few hits here and there but mostly the films tend to play out the same way and, frankly, next to zombies, possession/exorcism flicks are running a bit thin in my humble eyes. That said, director Xavier Gens new exorcism movie THE CRUCIFIXION is one of the better entries the sub-genre has seen in quite some time.

The film follows the misadventures of a young journalist played by Sophie Cookson (KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE) who, after losing her mother to a battle with cancer a few years prior, takes it upon herself to figure out just what the hell happened after a priest and a gaggle of nuns is arrested for the murder of a young woman during the course of an exorcism gone wrong.

Stop me if you've heard this one. Sure THE CRUCIFIXION doesn't break any new ground with its screenplay by THE CONJURING scribes Chad and Carey Hayes and mostly carries out the required beats of an exorcism flick blow for blow, but as is the case with any number of motion pictures, it's all in the execution. And it is here that the movie really soars with director Xavier Gens (FRONTIERS and HITMAN) giving the shallow story his all.

And boy what a show it is. From the opening moments, I knew I was in for a treat as Gens uses kinetic aerial photography to take us out of the clouds, through a small town, and straight into the bowels of a gothic church where an exorcism is in full swing. And the man is only just getting started. Truthfully, I don't know how much I would have dug the film had another, lesser, filmmaker, been behind the cameras, but Gens once again throws so much visual panache at the screen you cannot help but gasp at the beautiful horror of it all. And speaking of the beautiful horror of it all...

THE CRUCIFIXION has some of the most stunning landscape photography I've peeped in a fright flick in quite some time. And it also features more than its share of visceral nightmare imagery the film's killer trailer only hinted at. Want syringes in the eye? Got em. Want a girl's private area covered to the devil with creeping, crawling spiders (or was it ants?) and THE CRUCIFIXION has numerous visual horrors that will stick with you can cause you to share the film with friends asap.

On the blunt side of the spoon, again, the screenplay is lacking in any real sense of excitement or dread. Thank goodness Gens makes up for all of that with his visual tour-de-force, but all the same, as far as substance and depth go, the picture hits the melodramatic beats and moves on. Nothing to see here ladies and gentlemen. That said, there is one sequence that has me squirming in my seat with the everyday horror that way on hand. I won't spoil the scene, but let's just say it involves our leading lady and her rental car breaking down on a quiet deserted country road... right beside a field of dead, yellow corn. Bet you picture this scene next time your along in your vehicle alone in the watches of the night

But still, armed with a charming cast, led by the captivating Sophie Cookson, Gens makes the movie a smorgasbord of scares that, sure borders on way too many jumpscares, but makes up for it with killer set pieces. With my favorite being the newly introduced visual tableau of this movie's demon having the ability to make it rain indoors. No, not like a rapper in a strip club. I'm talking about full tempests inside kitchens and churches that had me smiling from ear to ear. Tag to that amazing visual so choice uses of slow motion and reverse photography, and this film's exorcism scenes are some of the best out there.

In the end, THE CRUCIFIXION is a movie I would recommend to any that is a fan of exorcism movie and even to those, like me, that felt they were fed up with the whole she-bang. If this new incarnation of evil-slayers doesn't grab you by the ankles and hoast you towards the ceiling, you might be best to give up on the subgenre for the time being. It isn't going to get much better (looking) than this.

Extra Tidbit: THE CRUCIFIXION hits VOD and theaters on October 6th.
Source: AITH

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