Feb 25 2011 By Fraser Glen
MAYBE it is an unfair comparison, but any recent release of an exorcist themed film has always left me with the same, single thought.
They never are, or ever will be as good as the original The Exorcist.
The 1973 classic is often referred to as one of the scariest films of all time but this latest exorcist filled film, The Rite, definitely fails to put up any great fight to change my opinion.
The Rite, 'inspired by true events' (of course), is a film based on faith and exorcism but fails to really pack a punch on either subject.
Colin O-Donoghue, making his feature film debut, plays central character, Michael Kovak.
As Michael nears graduation into the world of priesthood, a lack of faith makes him re-consider his options. However, after some convincing and a subtle hint of blackmail from one of his teachers at seminary school, he is persuaded to go to Italy and study to become an exorcist under the guidance of Father Xavier (Ciaran Hinds).
During the class, Michael questions the rationality of exorcism which leads Father Xavier sending Michael to meet, the rather eccentric, Father Lucas played by Anthony Hopkins.
Immediately after meeting Father Lucas, Michael is made to witness an exorcism and it is from this point on that the plot for the rest of the film is set out.
Father Lucas, has seen and done it all before, even casually answering his mobile phone during the exorcism of a 16-year-old pregnant girl, whereas Michael tries to rationalise the evident demonic possession, showing his struggle to believe in faith.
For a debut performance, O'Donguhue portrays his character's struggle in finding faith well and cannot be blamed for the long, almost boring dialogue scenes which is more likely to have the audience fall asleep in their chair rather than jump out of it.
Thankfully, Hopkins, like his Hannibal Lectar role, looks at ease, being able to play a character who can make the audience laugh or be scared of and taken serious all at the same time.
The possession and exorcism scenes themselves are a regurgitation of any other exorcist film. The usual creepy voices and the possessed taking body bending shapes, is the only way to show a demon taking control of a mortal soul.
Although, director Mikael Hafstrom nails the final scene between Michael and Father Lucas and the battle of good versus evil, its all a bit slow to get there with few too many scares along the way that you would expect from this type of film.
When it comes down to it, The Rite, fails to be more than a poor imitation.
Instead, for a scarier fast-paced exorcism film, I suggest you find yourself a copy of the original classic, The Exorcist.