Russell Crowe is back and he’s got some demons to battle.
“The Pope’s Exorcist,” out in April, follows Father Gabriele Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican (played by Crowe), as he takes on his most mysterious case yet – the possession of a young boy whose experience has ties to an ancient Vatican secret. And, yes, it looks pretty spooky.
Amorth was a real person (he passed away in 2016), an exorcist for the Vatican who spoke openly about his work, authoring several books about exorcism and frequently offering his opinion on the subject. He was the subject of a documentary called “The Devil and Father Amorth,” directed by William Friedkin (who directed “The Exorcist”) and had some questionable views about how someone can open themselves up to demonic possession – among them reading the “Harry Potter” books, practicing yoga or blaspheming. While patently bizarre, it at least offers a pretty good excuse for slacking on yoga – you just don’t want to get possessed by a beast from hell.
“The Pope’s Exorcist” is directed by Australian filmmaker Julius Avery, who made the minor classic “Overlord” for J.J. Abrams and saw his follow-up “Samaritan” (starring Sylvester Stallone) released, after a number of delays, last August on Amazon Prime Video. Avery has definitely got what it takes when it comes to visceral thrills and inventive horror movie staging (seriously, watch “Overlord” now) and it looks like Crowe has fully committed to the performance. Also nice to see that the movie is rated R. Unleash the blood!
The movie also stars B-movie legend Franco Nero as the Pope (a delicious perverse bit of casting given the actor’s history with exploitation movies), Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essoe and Ralph Ineson as the voice of the demon. Yes, this movie is going to be wild.
“The Pope’s Exorcist” hits theaters on April 14.