Grade (D-)

Another throw away exorcism film that shows little to no ambition in creating something we haven’t already seen.


When a young woman is possessed by a demonic force two exorcists from the Vatican will go to battle with evil to try and save her life.

My Take

I probably should have done myself a favor and watched the trailer for this one before I decided to give an hour and a half of my time to it. I had my assumptions this would not be the most enthralling of movies, but it’s October and horror movies will be frequenting the schedule.

In that vain I hope this was the worst of them. What compelled me to watch this movie was clearly the cast. I am a fan of both Dougray Scott and Djimon Hounsou and it was interesting to see what Michael Peña could do with a more dramatic character given he has been surprisingly convincing in past roles of similar tone.

The first-act was on the generic side but still somewhat enjoyable, the problem was the film continued to fill its story-line with scene after scene of the routine church related possession scenarios and it really began to slow down after about twenty-minutes. This film built zero suspense nor was it every frightening in the least. There were a handful of cheap jump-scares that you can see coming a mile away and regardless of the PG-13 rating there was a severe lack of ambition in taking any chances in to creating a genuinely scary movie that was any different then all the others.

A few months ago I watched “Stigmata” and throughout I was reminded of that film. Every time it popped into my mind it made this one feel like a cheap copy of it, that film and pretty much every other exorcism movie that has been made in the last ten-years. The pace was slow and built no connection to any of the characters which made the entire film for the most part just plain boring. The plot was vague and lacked any creativity which made it impossible to vest any thought in it.

The only solid part of this film was the performance of Olivia Taylor Dudley and Dougray Scott. Scott was very good as the stressed out father fearing for his daughters safety. You can see he is trying in his performance and he without question makes the most of the material delivering a good range of emotional torment through the role. Dudley was also very good as the possessed woman the film centers on and the effort she took into her performance was never in question.

Often in these less than impressive exorcism films, the main role is routinely well performed with a great deal of impact. Dudley clearly pulls off the role and feels the part, much like Ashley Bell did in “The Last Exorcism” films. It is unfortunate that like those films, this one failed to create a compelling story around the lead character facing the demonic possession to allow the performances to shine.

In the end “The Vatican Tapes” will make and hour and a half feel about as long as you could imagine with a story-line that builds no connection with the viewer. It boasts a decent cast that could have made this a much more enjoyable film, that is if the screenplay had provided them more to work with. Despite the Halloween season being upon us, this one is instantly forgettable and definitely not worth an evening.

– Starring –

Michael Peña, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Kathleen Robertson, Djimon Hounsou, Dougray Scott, John Patrick Amedori, Peter Anderson

– Directed By –

Mark Neveldine

Time: 91 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For disturbing violent content, and some sexual references)