31 Days of Horror Movie: The Rite (2011; PG-13; 114 min)

Anthony Hopkins and a based-on-true-events exorcism…you had me at Anthony Hopkins.

After seeing his evil side in The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, how can I turn away from an inspired Hopkins performance simply because it’s another movie about a doubting Catholic (which is getting old, old, old)? Okay, I can’t.

So I didn’t turn away, but seminary student Michael Kovak wants to. Raised by the uber creepy Rutger Hauer as his father Istvan Kovak, a mortician, Michael just can’t wait to get away. So he goes to seminary because his late mother always told him he was touched by the hand of God. As the date of his final vows looms, Michael decides to leave the seminary, citing lack of faith. Enter a priest who has seen a different side of him, and who wants him to head to Rome to give “exorcism school” a go.

Soon Michael’s doubting is noticed by a journalist, Angeline, and the top dog, Father Xavier, who is teaching the class. Father Xavier sends Michael to meet Father Lucas (Hopkins), who performs so many exorcisms he can take calls in the middle of them and still stay on task. Michael still doubts, even when one case, the lovely, young (and pregnant) Rosaria is spitting up long iron nails and talking to him in other languages. But as Rosaria’s possession grows more extreme and violent, and two personal connections to the evil show their face, Michael must decide once and for all if he truly believes not only in the evil he is witnessing, but in God himself.

  • Top Scare: A cat
  • Heartbeats: 3 out of 5
  • Gore Factor: 3 1/4 out of 5
  • Suspense Factor: 3 3/4 out of 5
  • Recommended for: 14 and up, due to a couple of sexual references by The Devil himself
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