I went to see the movie The Rite today by myself because nobody I know seems to love devil-horror the way I love devil-horror. I also love Anthony Hopkins, I mean SIR Anthony Hopkins. The movie is about a young seminary student named Michael who doesn't want to be a priest, but his crazy mortician dad won't pay for college, so his plan is to go to seminary on a scholarship, get an education, then opt out of being a priest at the end.
Then the story jumps to four years later when Michael is about to finish seminary school and he is still a skeptic about the whole God thing, so he writes a letter to Father Superior to tell him he's not going to take the final vows because the priesthood is not his thing. Father Superior sits down with Michael and has a talk with him about his scholarship and tells him that it is perfectly legal for church to say that his scholarship was not a scholarship at all, but a loan. A hundred thousand dollar loan. NICE, Catholic church! So Father Superior tells Michael that because of his gory history of living in a mortuary, maybe he could be an exorcist. Michael, of course, thinks this is total B.S. but decides to go to Rome for two months to take the course anyway, because hey, it's a two month trip to Rome.
During the exorcism course, he challenges the teacher by saying that what the "possessed" people probably have is psychological problems, and not a demon. The teacher sees promise in young Michael so he sends him to see Father Lucas (Hopkins) who is an expert exorcist, (but a bit of a loose cannon!) with the hopes of convincing Michael of the reality of demon possession. As luck would have it, Father Lucas has a client? patient? named Rosaria who is 16, pregnant, and possessed by the devil.
(Being a teenager BLOWS.)
Father Lucas tells Michael the basics of exorcism, the most important being making the demon identify himself. Apparently if you can trick them into telling you their names, you can get them out easier. Rosaria exhibits all the symptoms of possession: scratching things with her finger nails, cracking her knuckles, arching her body into extreme yoga positions, coughing up nails. You know, the usual. Michael still isn't convinced. STUBBORN! He thinks Father Lucas is somehow tricking him and he thinks Rosaria needs help from a real doctor. Turns out Father Lucas is a doctor as well as an exorcising priest. (Nice resume!)
Rosaria eventually goes totally nuts with this stupid demon and ends up in the hospital where she has the baby by herself (Nice hospital!) and she and the baby both die. Now there is a free demon wandering around and guess who he seeks out? That's right, Father Lucas! And guess who is the only one who can exorcise the demon? That's right! Michael! He's lacking confidence at first and only goes through the motions of exorcising, and it doesn't work. Then he steps up his game and really brings out the big exorcising guns and gets that horrible demon to say his name (Baal) and everyone lives happily ever after.
It was an okay movie as far as devil horror goes, but I gotta say, the scariest thing I find about devil horror is that lots of people actually believe this stuff! There really ARE exorcists! I think they take on the job for the same reason people become Maytag repairmen, or the vice president. They have lots of sitting-around time.