Russell Crowe is having the time of his life as an exorcist sent by the Vatican to cleanse a demon in this incredibly silly yet enjoyable horror romp.
The film’s protagonist, and chief asset, is Crowe, who understands that Father Amorth (a real-life priest who served as the Vatican’s chief exorcist for two decades) works best as a somewhat comical figure. Crowe gives him a thick, quaint Italian accent spoken in a high, Geppetto-like register. The character’s goofiness, combined with other elements (such as his huge, rotund frame riding atop a tiny Vespa), helps undercut the gravity of his position.
Amorth is tasked by the Pope (Franco Nero) to head to Spain, where a family has recently acquired, and subsequently moved into, a giant creepy castle. Underneath lies, of course, a demon, which is freed and enters the body of the youngest child. Amorth then teams with a local priest to excise this entity without killing the boy.
If you’ve seen the Exorcist, there’s nothing here that does anything new – it’s all out of the exorcism playbook – but Crowe knows what kind of film he’s in, and makes it worth the watch.
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