2023 has already been scaring up movie theaters with a handful of hits like M3GAN, Infinity Pool, and Knock at the Cabin. While the next couple of months will see the genre focusing on the return of iconic franchises like Scream and Evil Dead, there’s one original supernatural horror film coming out in April that has piqued a lot of genre fans’ interest. That would be The Pope’s Exorcist starring Russell Crowe. The film sees Crowe play real life priest Father Gabriele Amorth who was the Chief Exorcist of the Vatican. The story will be inspired by his demonic case files. Now ahead of the film’s first trailer, a new featurette for The Pope’s Exorcist has Crowe breaking down the horror at the center of Father Amorth’s story.
The minute-long featurette highlights Amorth’s role with the Catholic Church and how he performed thousands of exorcisms for over three and a half decades. This made him a controversial figure just for the nature of his work battling against this kind of unproven demonic evil. He worked around the same time as the famous demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren who were well known for their own set of controversial methods and theories. Similarly to the Warrens, Father Amorth documented his cases which has led to this film.
The last thing this featurette alludes to is the role the Church played in evil’s existence. The Catholic Church has always had a shaky stance on the existence of demons, the term evil, and concepts like hell. Depending on who you ask in the Church, exorcists don’t exist, but while the horrors of the Church nowadays come from self-inflicted wounds and revelations, The Pope’s Exorcist looks to explore the most compelling aspects of the Catholic religion’s stance on demonic possession while also further exposing their terrifying real world dark secrets.
The History of Supernatural Horror
The supernatural sub-genre has been associated with horror since its conception. That being said, in film the genre really didn’t hit the ground running until 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby. That terrifying classic began a wave of “Satanic Panic” films that would be a staple of the genre throughout the 70s and 80s. The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist, Carrie, The Omen and the list goes on and on. However, the film that changed the genre forever was 1973’s The Exorcist. The William Friedkin classic based on the William Peter Blatty book of the same name is still to this day one of the scariest films ever made. It defined how we view exorcists to this day in franchises like The Conjuring, based on the Warrens’ own case files, and underrated gems like the hit Paramount+ series Evil.
The Pope’s Exorcist looks to have taken a lot of influence from that horror classic. In the first bits of footage we got in this new featurette, the moody gothic imagery feels ripped straight out of The Exorcist. Even though there have been countless exorcism films in the 50 years since The Exorcist’s release, that’s definitely not a bad thing. This is also a film to look out for as director Julius Avery‘s previous horror film Overlords was an underrated genre gem.
Pope’s Exorcist Release Date
The Pope’s Exorcist is conjuring up in theaters on April 14, 2023. Along with Crowe the film stars Ralph Ineson (The Witch), Alex Essoe (Doctor Sleep, Midnight Mass), and Franco Nero. While horror fans anxiously wait for the film’s first trailer on Wednesday, you can view the full featurette for The Pope’s Exorcist down below: