The Exorcism of God Review

PLOT: In 2003, something awful happened during an exorcism Father Peter Williams conducted on a possessed nun. Eighteen years later, the demon returns and the priest has to face the consequences of that exorcism.

REVIEW: There are certain kinds of horror movies I never get tired of. For example, I watch as many slashers as I can get my eyes on, and it doesn’t matter how similar they all are to each other. I want those similarities. I want the new slasher I watch to be the same thing as the old slasher I love. Then there are other kinds of horror movies where I’m put off by the similarities. Getting into an exorcism movie is always a struggle for me, because they’re never going to match up to The Exorcist and yet they keep doing the same things that were done in The Exorcist. The possessed people usually look about the same, they’re going to levitate or their bed is going to levitate, they’re going to spew vulgarity and probably something green, and we’re just going to watch a priest talk at them and say stuff like “The power of Christ compels you!” Directed by Alejandro Hidalgo, the new film The Exorcism of God (watch it HERE) is not innocent of repeating things we saw in The Exorcist. All of that stuff is in this movie. There’s even mention of someone having their head twisted backwards. But Hidalgo’s movie also wins points by doing some different things along the way.

The story Hidalgo crafted with Santiago Fernández Calvete begins in 2003, when Father Peter Williams (Will Beinbrink), an American priest stationed in Mexico, conducts an exorcism to save nun Magali (Irán Castillo) from the grips of a demon called Balban. Father Michael Lewis (Joseph Marcell) warns Peter against doing the exorcism on his own, feeling he’s not prepared for it – if there’s any hint of sin within him, the devil will take hold. And Peter does have sin inside him, particularly a lust for Magali. Celibacy has clearly messed with this guy’s head, because even when Magali is sporting her possessed look – jacked-up teeth, reptilian eyes, black tongue, open sores – he is still overcome by lust. Because of this, something awful happens during the exorcism.

The Exorcism of God Will Beinbrink Alejandro Hidalgo

Eighteen years later, Peter is still a priest. He’s carrying the guilt of what happened during that exorcism, but he hasn’t fully atoned for his sins. He never carried out the penance he was given. Then children in the area start dying for no apparent reason, heralding the return of Balban. The demon is now in the body of a young woman named Esperanza (María Gabriela de Faría), who is locked up in a prison cell for committing a murder while under the demon’s influence. Peter is going to have to face Balban again, and in the process face what happened in 2003.

So there’s actually a very interesting story going on in The Exorcism of God, between the familiar sights and sounds of the exorcisms. There’s some serious drama for Beinbrink and his co-stars, particularly Castillo, to handle, and they do very well acting out these scenes. Hidalgo and Calvete have the story play out in an interesting way. Although we see a large portion of the 2003 exorcism right at the start of the film, they still keep doling out further pieces of information on what happened here and there throughout the running time. While we’re getting this information, we’re also introduced to Sister Camila (Evelia Di Gennaro), a nun who has to deal with some terrifying things. Hidalgo has some messed up visuals to show us aside from the possessed Magali and Esperanza as well. Camila faces some of them, and one of the most notable creepy/disgusting things is a vision Peter keeps seeing: that of a possessed, zombie-like Jesus Christ.

As the film builds up to the climactic exorcism, Peter is joined by Father Michael Lewis – and viewers who recognize Joseph Marcell from his role as the butler Geoffrey on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are going to get a whole extra level of entertainment from watching him battle the possessed. Even if you don’t know Marcell from Fresh Prince, he still brings a great energy to his role and the occasional touch of humor. Never mind the horror, my favorite moment of The Exorcism of God comes when Michael expresses his disgust at the condition of the prison Esperanza is in. I found what he says about it to be quite amusing.

The Exorcism of God Alejandro Hidalgo María Gabriela de Faría

There’s still around 30 minutes of movie left when Peter and Michael enter the prison to perform that climactic exorcism, which was surprising to me. How was Hidalgo going to fill all that time? As it turns out, he filled it by having a lot more going on in that prison than I expected. This doesn’t end with a couple of priests just talking at a possessed girl while she writhes around on a bed, and I really appreciated that.

If you’re a fan of exorcism movies, you’ll get the usual familiar stuff and also some unique twists and turns. If you’re not a fan of exorcism movies, I would suggest giving this one a chance. The Exorcism of God was one of the rare entries in this sub-genre that won me over. There were some weak spots, but I really liked how Hidalgo handled the story overall. This one held my interest by going in directions I wasn’t expecting.

Saban Films is giving The Exorcism of God a theatrical, VOD, and digital release on March 11th.

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.