THE VATICAN EXORCISMS (2012)
Dir. Joe Marino 73 mins
UK Release: 17th June 2013
Gah! What did we ever do without IMDB? For some reason despite a UK DVD release this week, The Vatican Exorcisms is yet to feature on IMDB, nor is its director or a few of its stars. Does it matter? Well, ordinarily – no, but as this movie presents itself as a documentary with the actual director playing the lead role (or is he the actual director?), some background may well be useful in determining the authenticity and credibility of this curio.
Such niggles aside, we begin here with Joe Marino (the ‘director’) flying out to Italy with the intention of exposing a shocking scandal inside the Vatican. At Rome airport we’re told that it’s the 16th July 2012, and Joe is whisked away by Paolo to meet his documentary crew. For his first interview, Joe is introduced to a former member of ‘The Crows’ a renowned Vatican secret society who has decided to turn whistleblower, as he gives Joe a tip as to where he might be able to covertly film a black mass.
Marino seems convinced about the evil that lies behind the walls of the Papal residence – “power, money, black masses, orgies. Does the devil live in the Vatican?.” He even goes so far as to name the former Pope Benedict and question is he resigned in a desperate attempt to hide a gay network. At this point I really did utter an audible “WTF?”, simply because horror films don’t tend to cross that factual boundary, and I really did begin to question just how much realism was in this film.
He then lines up an interview with an exorcist, Father Luigi Monsi who claims “every day I speak to the devil”. His conversation is very convincing as he highlights the differing aspects of possession, and he then gives the film crew permission to accompany him to an exorcism later that day. Monsi attempts to rid a young woman of the evil inside her, and throughout the procedure we’re subjected to the usual convulsions and screaming that go with the territory. From my cynical tone, you may note that at this point from being a potentially credible docu-drama we now descend into the realms of paint-by-numbers exorcism film.
As the film progresses as do the various exorcisms to the point of tedium. One even comes across more as an audition for the National Ballet. From a starting point of Joe Marino setting out to discover if the devil did indeed reside in the Vatican, the film becomes devoid of direction, leaving the viewer a little lost as to the direction it intends to take.
As the clock counted down its 73 minute running time, I felt myself willing them just to quit filming these seemingly endless exorcism scenes and go back to the intriguing reality themed first twenty minutes. It didn’t.
I still don’t know who Joe Marino is, or even the background to the movie, but having sat and become more and more disappointed as his film wore on, I’m now in no real rush to find out.