Movie Review: The Vatican Tapes (2015)

Synopsis: After cutting her hand receiving stitches on her birthday, Angela begins behaving strangely and eventually causes a car accident that leaves her in a coma for 40 days. After waking up, she behaves even more strangely and is ultimately committed to a psychiatric hospital. However, the Vatican believes the only way to help her is with an exorcism.

Who's in it? The movie stars Olivia Taylor Dudley, John Patrick Amedori, Dougray Scott, Michael Pena and Peter Andersson.


Review: Since yesterday evening was one of the few evenings my wife and I didn't have a lot going on, I decided to find a movie to watch while eating dinner. Even though this isn't the type of film I would normally watch (too many subpar ripoffs of The Exorcist out there) I decided to give it a try. It ended up being an OK movie but honestly could have been better.

My biggest problem with this film is it ended up being kind of predictable. As I indicated before, most exorcism movies are essentially ripping off their material from The Exorcist. Sure, you might have some differences (in this case, she used her demon powers to cause others to harm themselves), but the overall plot is still basically the same. In other words, if you've seen one movie about an exorcism, you've pretty much seen them all.

There are a couple things that would have made this movie considerably better. The first would have been making an effort to create some doubt about her being possessed. If her "signs" were a little less obvious then there would at least been some mystery surrounding what was happening to her, including the potential of an exorcism being performed on someone who was just mentally ill (or having a bad reaction to being given the wrong drugs when she went to the hospital?). The thought of someone innocent potentially being harmed because of a misinterpretation would add some suspense.

The movie would have been even better had it simply skipped over the exorcism (other than showing some flashbacks) and focused more on the Antichrist storyline that emerges toward the end. A film about the Vatican trying to stop a supernatural being that was bringing about the downfall of humanity while appearing to help people would have been a much more interesting story. You could have even had the dad (Scott) and boyfriend (Amedori) trying to stop the Vatican because they still believe Angela can be saved. 

I suspect, based on the ending, the filmmakers wrongly expected to have a sequel that would have essentially done that. It's disappointing they didn't just pull that trigger from the start.

Final Opinion: It's a watchable movie with a few decent scenes but, ultimately, it isn't particularly memorable and brings nothing new to a genre that has grown a bit stale.

My Grade: C

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