Film: “The Vatican Tapes”; Language: English; Cast: Michael Pena, Kathleen Robertson, Dougray Scott, Peter Andersson, Djimon Hounsou, John Patrick Amedori, Olivia Taylor Dudley and Michael Pare; Director: Mark Neveldine; Rating: *1/2
“The Vatican Tapes” is an exorcism film about a Miracle Woman who is believed to be the Anti-Christ. The story is unfortunately narrated in a rather convoluted manner. It underlines the fact that the end is near.
At the very onset we are reminded that over the past 2000 years, the Church has been witnessing paranormal activities, but the records have been documented only for the past 1900 years.
Revealed in cinema-verite with documented footage, supposedly secured from the hospital’s security camera that are now in the Church’s top-secret archives, is what gives the film its name, “Vatican Tapes.”
The narration begins with Cardinal Mattais Bruun (Peter Andersson) revealing his experience of performing exorcism on Angela Holmes (Olivia Taylor Dudley), a 25-year-old girl living in the US with her live-in boyfriend, Pete (John Patrick Amedori) and her religious father, Roger (Dougray Scott).
On her 25th birthday party, Angela accidentally cuts herself and thereafter for some inexplicable reason, she breaks into erratic behaviour which leads to a major car accident, leading to her being in comatose for 40 days.
After she miraculously recovers, unwittingly with telekinetic powers, she begins to eliminate people around her in the most gruesome manner.
Upon realising that they can’t help her any further, the hospital discharges Angela. It is then that the local priest, Father Lozano (Michael Pena), assures Pete and Roger that he would help them. He informs the Vatican and Cardinal Bruun is despatched to perform the exorcism. How he goes about it forms the crux of the story.
The script by writers Christopher Borrelli and Michael C. Martin is shoddy and confusing. The plot lacks expositions and thus it is perplexing for the audience to decipher the tale. With minimalistic horror tropes, the graph of the narration is flat in the first two acts. The account picks up momentum in the last 30 minutes of the 90 minute narrative, which is rather late.
The performances are perfunctory and the characters do not touch you emotionally. You don’t connect with them at all.
With moderate production quality, the found footage technique is acceptable.
While the conclusion of the film isn’t original by any stretch of the imagination, for a film of this genre, this twist is intriguing and elevates the end on an allegorical note. Quoting the Book of Revelations 19:20 from the Bible, it says, “One will come to mimic Christ and that will be the end of the world”.
You will leave the theatres on a disappointed note.