For several years, the Vatican has been acquiring video documentation of occurrences revolving around evil entities or “demons” as most people would refer to them as, possessing innocent people. Once the source is verified, they are able to step in and fight back in order to save the unwilling victims.
When a case afflicting a young woman named Angela comes to light, Cardial Mattias Brunn comes into the picture to save her soul from damnation, only to find matters to be much worse than he could have ever anticipated.
Sounds like a pretty awesome premise, right? At least on paper, this seems like something solid with a massive amount of possibility. So is it worth checking out “The Vatican Tapes”? Read on and find out!
The film was released in 2015 and stars Olivia Taylor Dudley (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimensions, The Magicians), John Patrick Amedori (Dear White People, The Last Stand), Dougray Scott (Fear the Walking Dead, The Rezort, Mission: Impossible 2), Peter Andersson (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy), Michael Pena (End of Watch, Narcos, Ant-Man) and Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, Gladiator, Guardians of the Galaxy).
Directed by Mark Neveldine with the screenplay written by Michael C. Martin and Christopher Borrelli, “Vatican” was created on a $15 Million budget and took in $15.5 Million worldwide.
As a selling point which got me to watch this film in the first place, I had seen numerous people stating how much they loved the film. Enough so that they’ve already taken in multiple viewings of it since it’s addition to the Netflix library. Talk of this nature has and likely always will get me excited about a movie and quickly pushed me towards watching it for myself. I was immediately filled with joy when seeing that Michael Pena and Djimon Hounsou were both part of the film as they are both fantastic actors and both have such an amazing range that I figured this was going to be something truly special to see.
But we will return to this later.
Now, was this going to be the case or would I be left highly disappointed as I typically am when getting my hopes up much too high?
To get this out of the way immediately, making a PG-13 horror film regarding demonic possession doesn’t really sit well with me. You’re using a sub-genre which has almost unlimited potential but are forced to censor yourself due to a ratings system which is highly unfortunate. But, it’s the nature of the beast and nothing that we can change.
Considering this major factor, the film did have a lot of potential to not only tell a good story, but to capitalize on what could have been a truly captivating and unique ending. One far different from most “Exorcist” inspired films.
Following up on this, the death toll was not very high at all. This should not be the direct focus of a psychological thriller mind you, although it could have helped the film’s momentum and would have potentially added to the overall tenseness surrounding the storyline.
As a quick side note, the “vatican” aspect of the film is used as a means of bringing the found footage aspect into the mix and to introduce the Cardinal but otherwise feels like it’s a lacking subject considering it’s in the film’s title.
Now, going back to what pushed my excitement for this film. Unfortunately, those viewing the film were quickly robbed of anything miraculous as Hounsou is barely in the film while Pena is stuck playing a one dimensional character who was unable to keep my attention, unlike many, if not, all the other roles he’s played over the years.
As a huge fan of the sub-genre, I could see where they wanted to go and what they were aiming for come the films ending but were unfortunately unable to tell their story. Unless they get another chance to film it or happen to have a yet unreleased, unrated version of the film, this would-be great ending will never be seen by horror fans.
In closing. This is the type of horror I would recommend as an intro to uneasy people or ever younger genre fans who are more prone to enjoy a PG 13 type film with potential scares. For genre veterans, it’s not really going to be up your alley in the area of scares but you may enjoy it to unfold the aforementioned ended that could have been great.
4 out of 10
Have you listened to the newest Beyond The Void Horror Podcast? This week we talk about 2 WTF movies from Japan and boy are they WTF. On iTunes HERE or click play on the soundcloud link.